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Title: Integrating pieces in autism spectrum disorders : the weak central coherence account
Authors: Pereira, Daniela Jardim 
Orientador: Castelo-Branco, Miguel
Tavares, Paula
Keywords: Distúrbios do espectro do autismo; Autismo; Senso de coerência
Issue Date: Mar-2010
Abstract: Introduction: Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by both social and non-social im-pairments, namely a triadic core of deficits in the social, communication and behavioural do-mains along with some strengths in perceptual functioning and the manifestation of “islets of abilities”. The weak central coherence account provides an explanatory model for the islets of perceptual competence and the tendency for detail and local processing in individuals with autism, as well as for some of the non-triadic features. A local processing bias, with inability to extract the gestalt, does therefore seem to be present in autistic individuals. Objectives: In this paper, we aim to review scientific evidence in favor of the weak central coherence in the visual processing domain and the position of this account in recent autism investigation in re-lation with other relevant theories. Scope of the discussion: Considerable evidence supporting weak central coherence account has been gathered by psychophysical, behavioral, clinical, electrophysiological and imaging studies; although findings are not consensual. We discuss the interpretation of these findings and methodological limitations that might contribute to diverging results. Additionally, we argue about the inadequacy of a single etiological model to explain autism in the light of current studies. Conclusion: An outstanding question remains: can a global perceptual deficit be identified in autism or can just a matter of a distinct cogni-tive style be invoked? Further research is needed to clarify the specificity and universality of weak central coherence in autism, as well as the underlying neurobiological mechanisms.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FMUC Medicina - Teses de Mestrado
UC - Dissertações de Mestrado

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