Abstract

We present the first assessment of motion sensitivity for persons with autism and normal intelligence using motion patterns that require neural processing mechanisms of varying complexity. Compared to matched controls, our results demonstrate that the motion sensitivity of observers with autism is similar to that of nonautistic observers for different types of first-order (luminance-defined) motion stimuli, but significantly decreased for the same types of second-order (texture-defined) stimuli. The latter class of motion stimuli has been demonstrated to require additional neural computation to be processed adequately. This finding may reflect less efficient integrative functioning of the neural mechanisms that mediate visuoperceptual processing in autism. The contribution of this finding with regards to abnormal perceptual integration in autism, its effect on cognitive operations, and possible behavioral implications are discussed.

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