Individual differences in visual search: relationship to autistic traits, discrimination thresholds, and speed of processing

Perception. 2011;40(6):739-42. doi: 10.1068/p6953.


Enhanced visual search is widely reported in autism. Here we note a similar advantage for university students self-reporting higher levels of autism-like traits. Contrary to prevailing theories of autism, performance was not associated with perceptual-discrimination thresholds for the same stimuli, but was associated with inspection-time threshold--a measure of speed of perceptual processing. Enhanced visual search in autism may, therefore, at least partially be explained by faster speed of processing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / psychology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time*
  • Sensory Thresholds*
  • Young Adult