Towards an Integrated Neurocognitive Account of Local Versus Global Visual Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Atypical visual processing in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), such as superior processing of local details or substandard processing of global structures, has been investigated repeatedly, but research findings vary widely and are often contradictory. Here, we present a collection of behavioural and neuroimaging studies that investigate various levels of visual processing in individuals with ASD and well-matched typically developing (TD) controls. In particular, we aim to get a better understanding of the interrelation between local versus global visual processing, either by applying paradigms that try to disentangle the relative contribution of both types of processing or by applying paradigms that investigate the interplay between bottom-up and top-down processing. Findings generally indicate subtle group differences between individuals with ASD and TD individuals, which strongly depend on task-demands and stimulus characteristics. In line with the literature, this series of studies reveals a mixed pattern of results, ranging from evidence for a more locally oriented processing style and impaired global processing, towards intact and even enhanced global integration capacities in ASD. It is concluded that atypical visual processing cannot currently provide us with a reliable endophenotype for ASD.
Friday, May 16, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Marquis D (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
3:55 PM
Atypical visual processing as an endophenotype of autism spectrum disorders?
L. Van Eylen, B. Boets, J. Steyaert, J. Wagemans and I. Noens
4:45 PM
Components of visual perceptual organisation in ASD: An overview of behavioural and fMRI evidence using Gabor patterns
K. Evers, R. Van der Hallen, B. Boets, B. Haesen, L. Van Eylen, J. Steyaert, I. Noens and J. Wagemans