August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Orientation discrimination profiles identify distinct subgroups within autism spectrum disorder
Author Affiliations
  • Fakhri Shafai
    Graduate program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia
  • Kimberly Armstrong
    Graduate program in Clinical Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Grace Iarocci
    Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University
  • Ipek Oruc
    Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 679. doi:
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Fakhri Shafai, Kimberly Armstrong, Grace Iarocci, Ipek Oruc; Orientation discrimination profiles identify distinct subgroups within autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):679. doi:

      Download citation file:

      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

The latest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included the decision to collapse previous diagnostic groupings into a single umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although the idea of categorizing individuals on the ASD spectrum into well-circumscribed sub-groups is highly attractive, scientific evidence necessary to make such distinctions is currently lacking. Last year at VSS we presented data from a group of adults with ASD that showed two distinct clusters based on performance in an orientation discrimination task. One cluster had results consistent with the oblique effect, i.e., superior precision around cardinal axes, compared to oblique angles. The other cluster of ASD participants showed a complete lack of the oblique effect with flat profiles across all orientations. We hypothesize that this clustering may be a reflection of true etiological sub-groups within ASD. To examine potential links between these clusters defined based on visual performance and ASD symptomology we collected the following neuropsychological measures on the same group of adults with ASD (N=19): 1) Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI-II), 2) Autism Quotient (AQ), 3) Multidimensional Social Competence Scale (MSCS), and 4) Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). A support vector machine pattern classifier was able to correctly predict which cluster an individual belongs to with generalization accuracy of 89.47% (p =0.01) based solely on Full IQ and gender. In addition, these clusters were also independently identified with 76.92% generalization accuracy based only on a single subscale of the MSCS assessing social motivation (p<0.05) based on a subset of our ASD group (N=13) who completed this measure. Our results suggest that visual performance profiles provide valuable information in identifying true etiological subgroups within ASD. In addition, they suggest that these visual protocols can serve as potential tools to improve diagnostic specificity.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.