Detecting changes in naturalistic scenes: contextual inconsistency does not influence spontaneous attention in high-functioning people with autism spectrum disorder

Eva Loth, Juan-Carlos Gomez, F Happé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are often reported to be good at detecting minute changes in the environment. This study tested two factors in this phenomenon; detail-focus and reduced top-down influence of scene-schema expectations on spontaneous attention to visual scene elements. Using a change blindness paradigm, adults with ASD and matched typically developing (TD) adults were presented with images of naturalistic scenes (e.g., living room). Scene changes involved three types of object substitution: an object was replaced with (i) all unexpected scene-unrelated object, (ii) a scene-related object of a different basic-level category, (iii) or a different exemplar of the original object category. Top-down effects of scene-schema expectations should render scene-unrelated (i) substitutions easiest to recognize; detail focus should increase detection of exemplar changes. The TD group showed the expected condition effects, detecting scene-unrelated substitutions significantly better than both types of scene-related changes. By contrast, the ASD group showed no condition effect, and was only significantly slower and less accurate than the TD group in detecting scene-unrelated objects. These findings suggest reduced influence of schematic expectations on spontaneous attention in individuals with ASD. Together with other factors, this may contribute to the tendency to notice "irrelevant" changes in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • ASPERGER-SYNDROME
  • CENTRAL COHERENCE
  • VISUAL-ATTENTION
  • SOCIAL-STIMULI
  • EYE-MOVEMENTS
  • PICTURES
  • CHILDREN
  • OBJECTS
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • SALIENCY

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting changes in naturalistic scenes: contextual inconsistency does not influence spontaneous attention in high-functioning people with autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this