Objectives: Evaluate MOT capacities in individuals with autism in a fully immersive virtual environment (FIVE). Investigate if an association exists between attentional mechanisms in autism and the complexity of the MOT task.
Methods: 9 adults with high-functioning autism and 4 age, gender and IQ matched control subjects tracked either 1 or 3 previously indexed target objects in a set of 8 distractor items. Performances were measured based on speed thresholds, which evaluate the greatest speed at which observers are capable to track the moving objects.
Results: Preliminary results showed a significant difference in speed thresholds for both groups between conditions. As expected, speed thresholds were higher, and thus reflected better performance, for the single object tracking versus the multiple object tracking condition. However, no significant difference was found between the groups for both conditions.
Conclusions: Participants with autism were able to track multiple objects at the same speed than control subjects, even when the task demanded a more complex integration of the tracked objects. While there is much evidence for perceptual anomalies in persons with autism, this does not seem to be the case for this kind of task.
Sponsors: Autism Speaks, NSERC-Essilor Industrial Research Chair