Attenuation of change blindness in children with autism spectrum disorders

Sue Fletcher-Watson, Sue Leekam, Brenda Connolly, Jess Collis, John Findlay, Helen McConachie, Jacqui Rodgers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Change blindness refers to the difficulty most people find in detecting a difference between two pictures when these are presented successively, with a brief interruption between. Attention at the site of the change is required for detection. A number of studies have investigated change blindness in adults and children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Some have produced evidence that people with ASD find changes to social stimuli harder to detect and changes to non-social stimuli easier to detect, relative to comparison participants. However, other studies have produced entirely contradictory findings. There is a need for consistency in methodology to aid understanding of change blindness and attentional processes in ASD. Here, we replicate a change blindness study previously carried out with typically developing (TD) children and adults and with adults with ASD. Results reveal attenuated change blindness for nonsocial stimuli in children with ASD relative to TD norms. Our results are interpreted, alongside others’ findings, as potentially indicative of a complex relationship between different influences on attention over time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-458
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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