Perceptual grouping abilities in individuals with autism spectrum disorder; exploring patterns of ability in relation to grouping type and levels of development

Authors

  • Emily K. Farran,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, University of London, London, United Kingdom
    • Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, University of London, 25 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA, UK
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  • Mark J. Brosnan

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
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Abstract

This study further investigates findings of impairment in Gestalt, but not global processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) [Brosnan, Scott, Fox, & Pye, 2004]. Nineteen males with ASD and nineteen typically developing (TD) males matched by nonverbal ability, took part in five Gestalt perceptual grouping tasks. Results showed that performance differed according to grouping type. The ASD group showed typical performance for grouping by proximity and by alignment, impairment on low difficulty trials for orientation and luminance similarity, and general impairment for grouping by shape similarity. Group differences were also observed developmentally; for the ASD group, with the exception of grouping by shape similarity, perceptual grouping performance was poorer at lower than higher levels of nonverbal ability. In contrast, no developmental progression was observed in the TD controls. Autism Res2011,4:283–292. © 2011 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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