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26 May 2010 by Eugenie Samuel Reich

WHEN Peter Pan lost his shadow, he was still recognisable, even though most of us find shadows help us to identify objects. Children with autism, however, appear to regard the dark shapes as more of a distraction.

There is evidence that people with autism process images differently, including finding it harder to decode facial expressions. To investigate how autism affects recognition of objects in general, Umberto Castiello of the University of Padua in Italy and colleagues compared the ability of 20 children with autism and 20 children without the condition to recognise objects drawn with and without shadows.

They found that the children with autism named objects without shadows slightly faster than neurotypical children, but were more than 10 per cent slower at naming objects with shadows. “The presence of shadows dramatically affects the ability of autistic individuals to recognise visual objects,” says Castiello.

Read in Full:  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627615.100-shadows-open-window-into-the-autistic-mind.html



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