David R. Simmons

David R. Simmons
University of Glasgow | UofG · School of Psychology

D.Phil. (Oxon), B.Sc. (Hons) (Lond), A.R.C.S.

About

118
Publications
13,674
Reads
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2,174
Citations
Introduction
David R. Simmons currently works at the School of Psychology, University of Glasgow. David does research in perception, especially perception in autism, but has also published articles on visual aesthetics, synaesthesia and applied perception. His most recent publication is 'Local Versus Global Processing in Autism: Special Section Editorial'.
Additional affiliations
September 1999 - present
University of Glasgow
Position
  • Lecturer
July 1995 - September 1999
Glasgow Caledonian University
Position
  • Lecturer
October 1992 - July 1995
McGill University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Post-doc working with Prof. Fred Kingdom on aspects of binocular vision (especially stereopsis) and colour, among other things.

Publications

Publications (118)
Article
Purpose Global and local processing is part of human perceptual organisation, where global processing helps extract the “gist” of the visual information and local processing helps perceive the details. Individual differences in these two types of visual processing have been found in autism and ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Virtua...
Preprint
Full-text available
Virtual Reality (VR) systems are a sophisticated interplay of technology and human perception. VR systems share three main features: immersion, interaction, and a sense of presence. Many empirical studies have since recognized VR as an important therapeutic tool. Research in VR and psychology has increased exponentially over the last few decades an...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes a smart tablet-based drawing app to digitally record participants’ engagement with the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure (ROCF) task, a well-characterised perceptual memory task that assesses local and global memory. Digitisation of the tasks allows for improved ecological validity, especially in children attracted to tablet device...
Preprint
Full-text available
One approach to characterizing human perceptual organization is to distinguish global and local processing. In visual perception, global processing enables us to extract the 'gist' of the visual information and local processing helps us to perceive the details. Individual differences in these two types of visual processing have been found in condit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Full OSF data and pre-print also available at https://psyarxiv.com/g7d9c/
Preprint
Full-text available
Sensory sensitivities have been linked to autism in a growing body of literature. Despite this, current measures assessing sensory sensitivities do not appear to fully capture this, especially in children. This study aimed to adapt an adult measure of sensory sensitivities – the Glasgow Sensory Questionnaire – for use with children aged between age...
Article
Video games are commonly of interest in autism, with autistic adolescents playing twice as much as their Typically Developing peers. The aims of this study are to investigate whether motivations to play video games measured using the Gaming Attitudes, Motivations and Experiences Scales and autistic traits using the Autism Spectrum Quotient can pred...
Article
Full-text available
A masked randomised control design compared the effectiveness of precision ophthalmic tints in improving the recognition of emotion in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Fourteen children aged 10–14 with ASD and 14 control children matched on verbal and non-verbal IQ, wore spectacles with coloured lenses to complete two tasks that involved the observ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: Global and local processing is part of human perceptual organisation, where global processing enables us to extract the ‘gist’ of the visual information and local processing helps us to perceive the details. Individual differences in these two types of visual processing have been found in autism and ADHD. Technological developments have...
Article
Full-text available
Facial attractiveness plays a critical role in social interaction, influencing many different social outcomes. However, the factors that influence facial attractiveness judgments remain relatively poorly understood. Here, we used a sample of 594 young adult female face images to compare the performance of existing theory-driven models of facial att...
Article
Ward (this issue) has provided an elegant synthesis of the literature on the neural basis of individual differences in sensory sensitivity, and a useful proposed framework to guide future research. In this commentary I clarify some of the issues raised by Ward (this issue) surrounding neural noise and sensory sensitivities in autism.
Preprint
Facial attractiveness plays a critical role in social interaction, influencing many different social outcomes. However, the factors that influence facial attractiveness judgments remain relatively poorly understood. Here, we used a sample of 594 young adult female face images to compare the predictive utility of existing theory-driven models of fac...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Serious games (SG) are part of a range of technologies that can be used for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Typically, these games target communication skills, social interaction and speech. There are, however, few SGs for autistic children which have the aim of helping to moderate sensory hypersensitivity. This paper presents an SG w...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The neural noise theory of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) hypothesises increased internal noise in sensory systems of individuals with ASD, which could explain visual processing attributes of ASD (Simmons et al., 2009, Vision Research, 49, 2705–2739). The bandwidth of sensory processing channels in ASD could be altered by neural noise (DeAngelis et...
Article
There have been few examples of inductive research in sensory reactivity, particularly in relation to autistic traits among the general population. This study used a mixed methods approach to explore the nature of sensory experiences among people with different levels of autistic traits. Participants completed the Glasgow Sensory Questionnaire and...
Article
Full-text available
It has been well established that individuals with autism spectrum disorder report unusual experiences with sensory stimuli compared with typically developing individuals. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the nature of such experiences. A focus group was conducted with six adults with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome. Dat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction The diagnoses of classic autism and Asperger's syndrome are thought to represent various points on an ‘autistic spectrum’ that also extends into the neurotypical population. Indeed those with high levels of autistic traits perform more like those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), than those with low levels, in various psychological...
Article
Full-text available
Human speech conveys many forms of information, but for some exceptional individuals (synaesthetes), listening to speech sounds can automatically induce visual percepts such as colours. In this experiment, grapheme-colour synaesthetes and controls were asked to assign colours, or shades of grey, to different vowel sounds. We then investigated wheth...
Conference Paper
Background: It is now well established that both a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or an increased level of autistic traits results in increased reporting of sensory difficulties (Robertson & Simmons, 2013). Typical olfactory symptoms reported by individuals with ASD include difficulties in tolerating “perfumed” environments like ph...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: A recent review demonstrated that sensory issues are common in ASDs, albeit heterogeneous in their nature (Ben-Sasson et al., 2009). This review substantiated accounts that have been written by people with ASD (e.g. Grandin & Scariano, 1996; Williams, 1998), in which the authors describe overwhelming responses to certain stimuli. In ord...
Chapter
While colour terms are occasionally used to describe a voice metaphorically, people with a neurological multi-sensory condition called synaesthesia have non-metaphorical, automatic and involuntary colour associations with the sound of a voice. After extensive research on other types of synaesthesia, this study is the first to investigate voice-indu...
Article
Full-text available
Voice-induced synesthesia, a form of synesthesia in which synesthetic perceptions are induced by the sounds of people's voices, appears to be relatively rare and has not been systematically studied. In this study we investigated the synesthetic color and visual texture perceptions experienced in response to different types of "voice quality" (e.g.,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the “primary social deficits” of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is understanding the emotions of others, yet current literature is inconclusive as to whether individuals with ASD perceive basic facial expressions of emotion differently from typically developed (TD) individuals [Simmons, et al. 2009, Vision Research, 49, 12705-2739] and, if...
Conference Paper
The ability to integrate auditory and visual information is a crucial part of everyday life. The Temporal Integration Window (TIW) provides a measure of how much asynchrony can be tolerated between auditory and visual streams before one loses the perception of a unitary audiovisual event. Previous investigations of the TIW in individuals with Autis...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) tend to have sensory processing difficulties (Baranek et al. in J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:591-601, 2006). These difficulties include over- and under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli, and problems modulating sensory input (Ben-Sasson et al. in J Autism Dev Disorders 39:1-11, 2009). As those with...
Article
Background and objective: Objective assessment of postsurgical facial asymmetry can be difficult, but three-dimensional (3D) imaging techniques have made this possible. The objective of this study was to assess residual asymmetry in surgically repaired unilateral cleft lip (UCL) and unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) patients and to compare th...
Chapter
Many discussions of biological motion perception involve a description of observers' attunements for recognizing gender, emotion, action, and identity from point-light displays. This chapter describes an often-neglected determinant of biological motion perception: the role of expertise. First, the authors describe how variability among observers is...
Article
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are common developmental disorders thought to affect more than 1% of the UK population (Baird et al, 2006, The Lancet 368, 210). Whilst the current official diagnostic criteria for ASD concentrate on signs and symptoms associated with social behaviour, it is also well known that sensory difficulties are a major fact...
Conference Paper
Objective: Surgical cleft repair aims to produce a symmetrical facial appearance. The objective of this study was to assess facial asymmetry in surgically repaired Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate (UCLP) and Unilateral Cleft Lip (UCL); and compare this with facial asymmetry in control subjects. Method: 51 ten year olds with surgically managed UCLP...
Conference Paper
Background: Grey matter (GM) volume and cortical thickness (CT) have been shown to correlate with performance and expertise on a number of tasks in typically developed individuals (e.g., Maguire et al., 2003). In people with ASDs it has been suggested that GM abnormalities are linked to behavioural deficits (Hadjikhani et al., 2006). Structural m...
Book
Colour studies attracts an increasingly wide range of scholars from across the academic world. Contributions to the present volume offer a broad perspective on the field, ranging from studies of individual languages through papers on art, architecture and heraldry to psychological examinations of aspects of colour categorization, perception and pre...
Conference Paper
Background / Purpose: When using a computer interface, how much is your performance affected by its attractiveness? We investigated this question using a visual search task which varied attractiveness systematically in two ways: (1) changing the spatial layout of target/distractor objects (classical aesthetics) and (2) changing the perceived attr...
Article
Whether people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) have a specific deficit when processing biological motion has been a topic of much debate. We used psychophysical methods to determine individual behavioural thresholds in a point-light direction discrimination paradigm for a small but carefully matched groups of adults (N=10 per group) with and...
Article
Objective Objective measure of scarring and three-dimensional (3D) facial asymmetry after surgical correction of unilateral cleft lip (UCL) and unilateral cleft lip (UCLP). It was hypothesized that the degree of scarring or asymmetry would be correlated with poorer psychological function. Design In a cross-sectional design, children underwent 3D i...
Article
Objective: To evaluate lip scarring and the three-dimensional (3D) lip morphology following primary reconstruction in children with unilateral cleft lip and palate (UCLP) relative to contemporaneous noncleft data. Design: Retrospective, cross-sectional, controlled study. Setting: Glasgow Dental Hospital and School, University of Glasgow, U.K....
Article
Full-text available
A common problem in visual appearance research is how to quantitatively characterise the visual appearance of a region of an image which is categorised by human observers in the same way. An example of this is scarring in medical images (Ayoub et al, 2010, The Cleft-Palate Craniofacial Journal, in press). We have argued that “scarriness” is itself...
Poster
1 Introduction • There are difficulties with facial expression processing in ASD (Simmons et al., 2009). • To what extent might these difficulties be caused by low-level visual factors? • This possibility was explored by manipulating the images of the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test (Baron-Cohen et al, 2001a), and testing on participants with m...
Chapter
This paper explores the contribution that phonetics can make to research into certain types of synaesthesia: those which have speech sounds as the 'inducer' or trigger for the synaesthetic experience, and colour as the 'concurrent' or triggered experience. These variants are under-researched relative to other variants. We first discuss the complex...
Chapter
Whilst there are many anecdotal links between particular colours and particular emotions, there is relatively little in the way of systematic research. In this chapter a protocol is proposed for establishing these links empirically which is then tested on the emotional terms "pleasant", "unpleasant", "mood-enhancing" and "calming". It was found tha...
Article
The perception of shape from binocular disparities is often not veridical (e.g. Johnston, 1991). We investigated the generality of this result for objects which varied in size and surface shape. Observers performed a shape judgement task for 3 differently shaped surfaces and 5 different sizes. Stimuli were random-dot stereograms. The shapes were a)...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of a study on the preference ranking of six layout principles (Cohesion, Economy, Regularity, Sequence, Symmetry, and Unity). Preference judgments were conducted using a forced-choice paired comparisons method. The findings of the present study indicate that, contrary to suggestions in previous literature, an interfa...
Article
It is known that Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASCs) are associated with perceptual difficulties, and it has been suggested that the perception of motion may be affected. Since human bodies in motion provide a source of information about instrumental and social aspects of behaviour, we examined the perception of human activity from minimal displays...
Article
People with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) are known to be deficient in visualizing the intent of others, especially in “Theory of Mind” tasks involving displays of animated geometric shapes. Research shows they will use fewer words of intent to describe animacy displays than neuro-typicals. Here we examine the ability of people with ASC to dete...
Article
There is a plethora of data concerning the relationship between colours and emotions, but little of this has been systematically collected. One view is that all such relationships are labile and determined by a combination of cultural and experiential influences. As such, data on colour-emotion relationships should be highly variable both between i...
Conference Paper
Background: Increasing evidence suggests that autism affects the recognition of biological motion. It has been proposed that this could be either a consequence of motion processing or social cognition, and could involve brain areas thought to be involved in the putative human mirror-neuron system. Objectives: To investigate the neural mechanisms...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: There is a variety of evidence (e.g. parent reports, first-hand accounts and experimental data) which suggests that individuals with ASD show atypical responses to sensory stimuli. Following on from our previous study (Robertson & Simmons, IMFAR, 2009), in which we found a strong positive correlation between score in the Autism Spectr...
Poster
Background It is generally thought that individuals with ASD have difficulty processing (interpreting) the eye-region of faces... Why? 1) Bias towards looking at mouth region? 2) Avoidance of eye region? 3) A problem with low-level vision (Katsyri et al, 2008; Simmons et al, 2009) ? One potential low-level vision problem is in the relative processi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the results of a study on the effect of the aesthetic layout properties of a computer interface on visual search performance. Search performance was measured at three levels of layout aesthetics: high, medium, and low. Two types of performance metric were recorded: response time and number of errors. Performance at the three lev...
Article
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are developmental disorders which are thought primarily to affect social functioning. However, there is now a growing body of evidence that unusual sensory processing is at least a concomitant and possibly the cause of many of the behavioural signs and symptoms of ASD. A comprehensive and critical review of the phen...
Article
Understanding how structure and motion information contribute to the perception of biological motion is often studied with masking techniques. Current techniques in masking point-light walkers typically rely on adding surrounding masking dots or altering phase relations between joints. Here, we demonstrate the use of novel stimuli that make it poss...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: There is a variety of evidence which suggests that individuals with ASD show atypical responses to sensory stimuli. Is there a correlation between the degree to which ASD-like traits are displayed in an individual and the level of atypical sensory responses experienced? Objectives: * To construct a sensory questionnaire that could...
Conference Paper
Background: It is known that Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are associated with perceptual difficulties, and it has been suggested that the perception of motion and, more specifically, biological motion may be affected. Objectives: To determine whether the perception of biological motion is impaired in people with ASDs relative to neuro-typic...
Conference Paper
Background: Few theories of the neural basis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) adequately address the well-known and oft-reported symptoms of hyper- and hypo-sensitivities in different sensory modalities (see Robertson & Simmons, this meeting). We argue that the existence of chronic levels of internally-generated neural noise in affective pathway...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background: A variety of evidence, e.g. parent reports, scientific data and personal accounts, have shown that there appears to be problems processing sensory stimuli in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). We constructed a questionnaire to investigate this in children with ASD and those with developmental disorders (DD). A qualitative, open approac...
Article
To develop a new model to establish teenagers' perceptions of the aesthetic impact of fluorosis, in the context of overall facial appearance. This web-based model was used to compare different degrees of fluorosis at any one distance, while also comparing the same level of fluorosis at different 'distances'. A 14-year-old subject was used as the mo...
Article
How is chromatic contrast combined binocularly? One index of binocularity is the binocular contrast summation ratio (BCSR), which is the improvement in contrast sensitivity with binocular rather than monocular presentation. Simmons and Kingdom (1998, Vision Research 38 1063-1071) noted that BCSRs with some red-green isoluminant stimuli were suggest...