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Eagle-eyed Visual Acuity in Autism

      We thank Michael Bach and Steven Dakin and David Crewther and Alexandra Sutherland for their interesting commentaries with regard to the technical issues associated with use of the Freiberg Visual Acuity and Contrast Test (FrACT) (version 1.3) (
      • Bach M.
      The Freiburg Visual Acuity Test—Automatic measurement of visual acuity.
      ) in our study (
      • Ashwin E.
      • Ashwin C.
      • Rhydderch D.
      • Howells J.
      • Baron-Cohen S.
      Eagle-eyed visual acuity: An experimental investigation of enhanced perception in autism.
      ). We chose the FrACT for use in our study, because it is both quick and easy to implement and provides us with a quantitative measure of visual acuity (VA) that can be readily interpreted. As outlined in the commentaries, there are a number of settings within the FrACT that can be changed from their default values. We agree that any potential influences that changes to these settings might have on the results should be investigated further.
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      Linked Article

      • The More He Looked Inside, the More Piglet Wasn't There: Is Autism Really Blessed with Visual Hyperacuity?
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 66Issue 10
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          Ashwin et al. (1) claim that individuals with autism have significantly better visual acuity when compared with control subjects—acuity so superior that it lies in the region reported for birds of prey. The researchers suggested that their findings of significantly enhanced visual acuity in autism might be due to atypically high numbers of foveal cone cells.
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      • Regarding “Eagle-Eyed Visual Acuity: An Experimental Investigation of Enhanced Perception in Autism”
        Biological PsychiatryVol. 66Issue 10
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          Low-level perceptual abnormalities are increasingly seen to play an important role in some features of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) (review [1]) by contributing to impairments of social communication through limiting higher-level visual processing of faces, for example. Arguably the most interesting findings are that individuals with ASD can sometimes perform better than matched control subjects when the task involves attention to detail (e.g., in visual search [2], finding hidden figures [3], or resisting the influence of context within illusions [4]), suggesting that ASD might be associated with enhanced processing of local information (2).
        • Full-Text
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