Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is typically associated with problems in social communication and interaction, combined with restrictive and repetitive interests, behaviors, and activities. In addition, individuals with ASD often experience sensory abnormalities and have difficulties with perceptual organization, which can affect other aspects of information processing, such as attention, and perception of faces and motion. Researchers have studied atypical perceptual organization in individuals with ASD over the past decades, particularly in visual perception, finding both a reduced tendency to integrate information into meaningful wholes and a stronger focus on details in individuals with autism. In this article, we review empirical findings and describe briefly two influential theoretical accounts (weak central coherence and enhanced perceptual functioning theory), as well as more recent theoretical frameworks that emphasize the imbalance between local and global processing, or anomalies at the level of the brain as an engine of prediction.

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Child Development Perspectives
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Evers, K. (Kris), van der Hallen, R., Noens, I. (Ilse), & Wagemans, J. (2018). Perceptual Organization in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Child Development Perspectives, 12(3), 177–182. doi:10.1111/cdep.12280