The weak coherence account: detail-focused cognitive style in autism spectrum disorders.

Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 02/2006; 36(1):5-25. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-005-0039-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT "Weak central coherence" refers to the detail-focused processing style proposed to characterise autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The original suggestion of a core deficit in central processing resulting in failure to extract global form/meaning, has been challenged in three ways. First, it may represent an outcome of superiority in local processing. Second, it may be a processing bias, rather than deficit. Third, weak coherence may occur alongside, rather than explain, deficits in social cognition. A review of over 50 empirical studies of coherence suggests robust findings of local bias in ASD, with mixed findings regarding weak global processing. Local bias appears not to be a mere side-effect of executive dysfunction, and may be independent of theory of mind deficits. Possible computational and neural models are discussed.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Common Core State Standards (CCSS 2014a, b) are here to stay. State and local education agencies are responsible for ensuring that schools teach all students the core standards that they will need in college and the work force. However, the ever-growing population of students on the autism spectrum has unique learning needs which may make it more difficult for them to achieve these standards. This article examines the core characteristics of autism as they are described in the California Code of Regulations (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (APA 2013), and current theories. These characteristics will be held up to the CCSS to identify areas of potential deficit and to explore interventions, accommodations, and modifications designed to enhance access to the general curriculum. These supports are aimed at allowing uncommon learners on the autism spectrum who require minimal support, substantial support, and very substantial support to achieve Common Core State Standards alongside their typically developing peers.
    06/2015; 19(2). DOI:10.1007/s40688-015-0048-8
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Psychiatric disorders profoundly impair many aspects of decision making. Poor choices have negative consequences in the moment and make it very hard to navigate complex social environments. Computational neuroscience provides normative, neurobiologically informed descriptions of the components of decision making that serve as a platform for a principled exploration of dysfunctions. Here, we identify and discuss three classes of failure modes arising in these formalisms. They stem from abnormalities in the framing of problems or tasks, from the mechanisms of cognition used to solve the tasks, or from the historical data available from the environment.
    05/2015; 3(3):400-421. DOI:10.1177/2167702614562040
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Young typically developing (TD) children have been observed to utilize word learning strategies such as the noun bias and shape bias; these improve their efficiency in acquiring and categorizing novel terms. Children using the shape bias extend object labels to new objects of the same shape; thus, the shape bias prompts the categorization of object words based on the global characteristic of shape over local, discrete details. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) frequently attend to minor details of objects rather than their global structure. Therefore, children with ASD may not use shape bias to acquire new words. Previous research with children with ASD has provided evidence that they parallel TD children in showing a noun bias, but not a shape bias (Tek et al., 2008). However, this sample was small and individual and item differences were not investigated in depth. In an extension of Tek et al. (2008) with twice the sample size and a wider developmental timespan, we tested 32 children with ASD and 35 TD children in a longitudinal study across 20 months using the intermodal preferential looking paradigm. Children saw five triads of novel objects (target, shape-match, color-match) in both NoName and Name trials; those who looked longer at the shape-match during the Name trials than the NoName trials demonstrated a shape bias. The TD group showed a significant shape bias at all visits, beginning at 20 months of age while the language-matched ASD group did not show a significant shape bias at any visit. Within the ASD group, though, some children did show a shape bias; these children had larger vocabularies concurrently and longitudinally. Degree of shape bias elicitation varied by item, but did not seem related to perceptual complexity. We conclude that shape does not appear to be an organizing factor for word learning by children with ASD.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6:446. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00446 · 2.80 Impact Factor