This study investigated whether individuals with ASD (autistic spectrum disorders) are able to identify driving hazards, given their difficulties processing social information, Klin et al. (Archives of General Psychiatry 59: 809–816, 2002). Twenty-three adult males with ASD and 21 comparison participants viewed 10 video clips containing driving hazards. In half of the clips the source of the hazard was a visible person (social); in the other half the source was a car (non-social). Participants with ASD identified fewer social hazards than the comparison participants (U = 163.00, N = 44, p < .05) but not non-social. Participants with ASD were also slower to respond than comparison participants, F(1,40) = 4.93, p < .05. This suggests that, although people with ASD can perceive driving hazards they may have specific difficulty identifying them if they involve a person.
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This research was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Grant (F/00 114/AO) to Danielle Ropar and Geoffrey Underwood. We are grateful to the students and tutors at the colleges who participated in this research: Glasshouse College, Stourbridge; The Wing Centre, Bournemouth; North Nottinghamshire College, Worksop; Castle College, Nottingham. Thanks also to David Crundall for use of the hazard video clips.
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Sheppard, E., Ropar, D., Underwood, G. et al. Brief Report: Driving Hazard Perception in Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 40, 504–508 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0890-5
- Driving hazards
- Social processing