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Change detection of meaningful objects in real-world scenes in adolescents with and without ASD

  • Vanmarcke, Steven; 76988;
  • Noens, Ilse; 55522;
  • Steyaert, Jean; 43268;
  • Wagemans, Johan; 7347;
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2018
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Previous research suggested that adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are better than Typically Developing (TD) children in detecting local, non-social details within complex visual scenes. To better understand these differences, we used the image database by Sareen and colleagues (2015), containing the size and on-screen location information of all changes in the images, in a change blindness paradigm. In this task an original and a modified real-world scene, separated by a grey blank, alternate repeatedly until observers detect the change. Our results indicated that participants with and without ASD performed similarly when scenes were presented upright, but that only the performance of the TD adolescents became worse in the inverted scene condition. In this condition, the correlation between performance and both image difficulty and change predictability was significantly weaker in ASD than in TD participants. We suggest that these findings result from a more locally biased search strategy in people with ASD, compared to TD participants, in tasks in which the rapid processing of global information does not help to improve change detection performance. Finally, although we found change location, change size and age to influence participant performance, none of these was directly linked to the observed group-level differences. / status: published

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