The weak central coherence theory of autism originally suggested that people on the autism spectrum focus on features rather than perceiving a global gestalt. To test whether central coherence theory is relevant to social perception in autism, we tested whether global processing on a non-social task was associated with global processing on a social task. Fourteen adults with autism and 14 matched controls completed a Navon task and an emotion perception task with a point light-walker display. Across both groups as well as within the autism group, there was a correlation between global processing in the Navon task and the social task. This association that global processing may underpin performance on both tasks.
Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Central Coherence Theory, Navon Task, Social Perception