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How central is central coherence?: Preliminary evidence on the link between conceptual and perceptual processing in children with autism

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This study aimed to test the assumption drawn from weak central coherence theory that a central cognitive mechanism is responsible for integrating information at both conceptual and perceptual levels. A visual semantic memory task and a face recognition task measuring use of holistic information were administered to 15 children with autism and 16 typically developing children. If there is a central integration mechanism, performance on the two tasks should be positively associated. No relationship was found, however, between the two abilities in the comparison group and, unexpectedly, a strong significant inverse correlation was found in the autism group. Classification data further confirmed this finding and indicated the possibility of the presence of subgroups in autism. The results add to emerging evidence suggesting that central coherence is not a unitary construct.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008

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