Brief report: the relationship between visual acuity, the embedded figures test and systemizing in autism spectrum disorders

Mark J Brosnan, L R Gwilliam, Ian Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


Enhanced performance upon the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has informed psychological theories of the non-social aspects that characterise ASD. The Extreme Male Brain theory of autism proposes that enhanced visual acuity underpins greater attention to detail (assessed by the EFT) which is a prerequisite for Systemizing. To date, however, no study has empirically examined these relationships. 13 males with ASD and 13 male controls were assessed upon tasks argued to reflect these levels of processing. The ASD group were found to have significantly greater visual acuity, EFT performance and Systemizing ability than the control group. However, regression analysis revealed that the strongest relationship was between visual acuity and EFT performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2497
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number11
Early online date26 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


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