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Intaite, Monika; Georgescu, Alexandra L.; Noreika, Valdas; Saldern, Marie A. O. von; Vogeley, Kai; Falter-Wagner, Christine M. (2019): Adults with autism spectrum condition have atypical perception of ambiguous figures when bottom-up and top-down interactions are incongruous. In: Autism, Vol. 23, No. 5: pp. 1133-1142
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We examined the perception of an ambiguous squares stimulus evoking bistable perception in a sample of 31 individuals with autistic spectrum condition and 22 matched typical adults. The perception of the ambiguous figure was manipulated by adaptation to unambiguous figures and/or by placing the ambiguous figure into a context of unambiguous figures. This resulted in four conditions testing the independent and combined (congruent and incongruent) manipulations of adaptation (bottom-up) and spatial context (top-down) effects. The strength of perception, as measured by perception of the first reported orientation of the ambiguous stimulus, was affected comparably between groups. Nevertheless, the strength of perception, as measured by perceptual durations, was affected differently between groups: the perceptual effect was strongest for the autistic spectrum condition group when combined bottom-up and top-down conditions were congruent. In contrast, the strength of the perceptual effect in response to the same condition in the typical adults group was comparable to the adaptation, but stronger than both the context and the incongruent combined bottom-up and top-down conditions. Furthermore, the context condition was stronger than the incongruent combined bottom-up and top-down conditions for the typical adults group. Thus, our findings support the view of stimulus-specific top-down modulation in autistic spectrum condition.