September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Correlation between chromatic sensitivity and higher order color vision functions in Asperger Syndrome but not in high functioning autism
Author Affiliations
  • Elaine Zachi
    Experimental Psychology Department, Institute of Psychology, Sao Paulo University, Sao Paulo – Brazil
  • Thiago Costa
    Experimental Psychology Department, Institute of Psychology, Sao Paulo University, Sao Paulo – Brazil Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and Developmental Disorders Program, Center for Health and Biological Sciences, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Sao Paulo – Brazil
  • Mirella Barboni
    Experimental Psychology Department, Institute of Psychology, Sao Paulo University, Sao Paulo – Brazil
  • Dora Ventura
    Experimental Psychology Department, Institute of Psychology, Sao Paulo University, Sao Paulo – Brazil
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 262. doi:10.1167/15.12.262
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      Elaine Zachi, Thiago Costa, Mirella Barboni, Dora Ventura; Correlation between chromatic sensitivity and higher order color vision functions in Asperger Syndrome but not in high functioning autism. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):262. doi: 10.1167/15.12.262.

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      © 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

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Abstract

The assumption that Asperger Syndrome (AS) and high functioning autism (HFA) are quantitative manifestations of the same disorder today remains somewhat controversial. The purpose of this study was to examine possible correlations between chromatic sensitivity and visual perception/memory for complex detailed colored stimuli in AS and HFA patients and controls. Ten patients with AS, 9 patients with HFA, and 12 controls were tested. The participants were 6 to 19 years old and had normal or above-average intelligence according to the Raven Matrices Test. University’s hospital psychiatrists made the diagnosis based on DSM-IV criteria. Short-term memory for colored stimuli was assessed with the Delayed Matching to Sample test (DMS) from the CANTAB battery. Color discrimination was measured using the Cambridge Colour Test (CCT). AS participants performed significantly better than the other groups in delayed perceptual matching (Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA, p< 0.05). Higher DMS total scores were significantly correlated with lower thresholds for protan (rS= -0.75), deutan (rS= -0.86), and tritan (rS= -0.81) axes and with narrow areas of the MacAdam ellipses (rS= -0.89) among patients with AS. Correlations between CCT values and DMS scores were not statistically significant for HFA participants and controls. Color vision losses (defined according to previous data from our Laboratory - Ventura et al., 2003) were found in 20% (2/10) of the patients with AS and in 44% (4/9) of the HFA group. Chromatic sensitivity seemed to influence the performance in a task that integrates color vision discrimination and complex processes including perception and memory in the AS group. The results corroborate the superior detailed information processing in Asperger Syndrome. This study supports a different profile of interaction between sensory and high-order cortical functions in AS and HFA.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015

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