Brief Report: Typical Visual Updating in Autism


Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can struggle with visual updating. In a previous picture morphing study (Burnett and Jellema 2012) adults with ASD recognized the second picture significantly later when seeing one picture gradually changing into another. The aim of the current study was to test whether this previously reported perceptual atypicality may be due to general perceptual deficits. We therefore employed a modified picture morphing task. Against expectations, people with ASD showed typical performance in the task and no general perceptual deficits in relation to the picture morphing paradigm. Our results suggest that reported difficulties with visual updating in ASD may be due to temporal task restrictions and do not reflect a genuine problem with visual updating.

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Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study will be openly available on OSF “Typical Visual Updating in Autism” at


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This research was funded by a grant from the University of Salzburg to S.W. and by the FWF Austrian Science Fund (#V480-B27) Grant (Eliese Richter Program) to E.S. Christine Falter-Wagner and Elisabeth Stöttinger contributed evenly to the manuscript. We are grateful to the participants for their time and effort.

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Correspondence to Stephanie Weber or Christine Falter-Wagner.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis was performed by SW. The first draft of the manuscript was written by SW and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Weber, S., Falter-Wagner, C. & Stöttinger, E. Brief Report: Typical Visual Updating in Autism. J Autism Dev Disord (2021).

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  • Visual updating
  • Picture morphing
  • Autism spectrum disorder