Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 11, pp 2844–2850

Oblique Orientation Discrimination Thresholds Are Superior in Those with a High Level of Autistic Traits

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2147-1

Cite this article as:
Dickinson, A., Jones, M. & Milne, E. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 2844. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2147-1


Enhanced low-level perception, although present in individuals with autism, is not seen in individuals with high, but non-clinical, levels of autistic traits (Brock et Percept Lond 40(6):739. doi:10.1068/p6953, 2011). This is surprising, as many of the higher-level visual differences found in autism have been shown to correlate with autistic traits in non-clinical samples. Here we measure vertical–oblique and, more difficult, oblique–oblique orientation discrimination thresholds in a non-clinical sample. As predicted, oblique–oblique thresholds provided a more sensitive test of orientation discrimination, and were negatively related to autistic traits (N = 94, r = −.356, p < .0001). We conclude that individual differences in orientation discrimination and autistic traits are related, and suggest that both of these factors could be mediated by increased levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.


Autistic traits Orientation discrimination Visual perception 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail Dickinson
    • 1
  • Myles Jones
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Milne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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