Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 2491–2497 | Cite as

Brief Report: The Relationship Between Visual Acuity, the Embedded Figures Test and Systemizing in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Mark J. BrosnanEmail author
  • Lucy R. Gwilliam
  • Ian Walker
Brief Report


Enhanced performance upon the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has informed psychological theories of the non-social aspects that characterise ASD. The Extreme Male Brain theory of autism proposes that enhanced visual acuity underpins greater attention to detail (assessed by the EFT) which is a prerequisite for Systemizing. To date, however, no study has empirically examined these relationships. 13 males with ASD and 13 male controls were assessed upon tasks argued to reflect these levels of processing. The ASD group were found to have significantly greater visual acuity, EFT performance and Systemizing ability than the control group. However, regression analysis revealed that the strongest relationship was between visual acuity and EFT performance.


Autism Visual acuity Embedded Figures Test (EFT) Systemizing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark J. Brosnan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lucy R. Gwilliam
    • 1
  • Ian Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUK

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