Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often perform better than typically developing (TD) individuals in simple, albeit difficult, visual search tasks. This ability is often attributed to a lack of drive for coherence or superior local processing. We compare thirty adults with ASD with forty-nine TD individuals and twenty-seven adults with anxiety (ANX) across two real-world visual search tasks. Individuals had to find either a number superimposed over a real-world scene ("œno context" condition) or an object located in a contextually relevant location ("œcontext" condition). Each participant completed forty-one trials in each condition, each with a unique scene. Eye movements were recorded using an SR Research EyeLink 1000 eyetracker. All groups performed better in the context condition. However, the ASD group was less accurate than both groups, across conditions. All groups were quicker to find the target in the context condition but the ASD group was slower than the TD group. Furthermore, the ASD group took longer to initiate their search, fixate on the target, and decide that they had found the target than the TD group. These results suggest that individuals with ASD are able to integrate contextual information to aid the search but that their previously seen visual search advantage may not transfer to visual searches of real-world scenes.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Russell, Nicholas Charles, "Do Adults Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders have an Advantage in Real-World Visual Search Tasks?" (2017). All Theses and Dissertations. 6872.
autism spectrum disorder, visual search, real-world, eye tracking