Reduced face aftereffects in autism are not due to poor attention

Louise Ewing, Katie Leach, Elizabeth Pellicano, Linda Jeffery, Gillian Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study aimed to determine why face identity aftereffects are diminished in children with autism, relative to typical children. To address the possibility that reduced face aftereffects might reflect reduced attention to adapting stimuli, we investigated the consequence of controlling attention to adapting faces during a face identity aftereffect task in children with autism and typical children. We also included a size-change between adaptation and test stimuli to determine whether the reduced aftereffects reflect atypical adaptation to low- or higher-level stimulus properties. Results indicated that when attention was controlled and directed towards adapting stimuli, face identity aftereffects in children with autism were significantly reduced relative to typical children. This finding challenges the notion that atypicalities in the quality and/or quantity of children's attention during adaptation might account for group differences previously observed in this paradigm. Additionally, evidence of diminished face identity aftereffects despite a stimulus size change supports an adaptive processing atypicality in autism that extends beyond low-level, retinotopically coded stimulus properties. These findings support the notion that diminished face aftereffects in autism reflect atypicalities in adaptive norm-based coding, which could also contribute to face processing difficulties in this group.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81353
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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