Spatial Contrast Sensitivity in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2010 Aug;40(8):978-87. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-0953-7.

Abstract

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing (TD) controls underwent a rigorous psychophysical assessment that measured contrast sensitivity to seven spatial frequencies (0.5-20 cycles/degree). A contrast sensitivity function (CSF) was then fitted for each participant, from which four measures were obtained: visual acuity, peak spatial frequency, peak contrast sensitivity, and contrast sensitivity at a low spatial frequency. There were no group differences on any of the four CSF measures, indicating no differential spatial frequency processing in ASD. Although it has been suggested that detail-oriented visual perception in individuals with ASD may be a result of differential sensitivities to low versus high spatial frequencies, the current study finds no evidence to support this hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology*
  • Contrast Sensitivity* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Space Perception* / physiology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology
  • Wechsler Scales