Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 502–510 | Cite as

How Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Spontaneously Attend to Real-World Scenes: Use of a Change Blindness Paradigm

Original Paper


Visual attention of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was assessed using a change blindness paradigm. Twenty-five adolescents with ASD aged 12–18 years and 25 matched typically developing (TD) adolescents viewed 36 pairs of digitized real-world images. Each pair of images was displayed in a ‘flicker paradigm’ whereby a particular item alternately appeared and disappeared. This item was either a central or a marginal detail of the scene. Change detection response times were measured and compared between groups. Marginal details were more difficult to detect than central details of the scenes in both groups, however, the response times of the ASD group were lower than the TD group. These results challenge the hypothesis of superior visual detection in ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Change blindness Visual attention Adolescents 



This work was supported in part by the PICS program (Ref: PICS07209) of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research, France) and by the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin De Rothschild Institute (Haifa, Israel). This work was also supported by Erasmus Mundus EMAIL II Program of the European Union.

Author Contributions

MH conceptualized and designed the study, recruited participants, carried out the initial analyses, drafted the initial manuscript, reviewed and revised the manuscript. OG conceptualized and designed the study, carried out the initial analyses, drafted the initial manuscript and reviewed and revised the manuscript. AA recruited participants, collected data and reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Social Welfare & Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesAriel UniversityArielIsrael
  3. 3.Neuropediatric UnitShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique, Hôpital de La SalpêtrièreUniversité Pierre et Marie CurieParisFrance

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