09-02-2016 | S.I. : Local vs. Global processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Default Local Processing in Individuals with High Autistic Traits Does Not Come at the Expense of Global Attention
Ryan A. Stevenson, Sol Z. Sun, Naomi Hazlett, Jonathan S. Cant, Morgan D. Barense, Susanne Ferber
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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Atypical sensory perception is one of the most ubiquitous symptoms of autism, including a tendency towards a local-processing bias. We investigated whether local-processing biases were associated with global-processing impairments on a global/local attentional-scope paradigm in conjunction with a composite-face task. Behavioural results were related to individuals’ levels of autistic traits, specifically the Attention to Detail subscale of the Autism Quotient, and the Sensory Profile Questionnaire. Individuals showing high rates of Attention to Detail were more susceptible to global attentional-scope manipulations, suggesting that local-processing biases associated with Attention to Detail do not come at the cost of a global-processing deficit, but reflect a difference in default global versus local bias. This relationship operated at the attentional/perceptual level, but not response criterion.