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Special Populations

Our perception of the world depends upon experience, and unique developmental trajectories lead to unique perceptual processes. Recently, we have begun investigating the effects of atypical development on visual processing, particularly with respect to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and individuals with schizophrenia.

Our work on vision in special populations builds on our research interests in typically developed populations, and is conducted in collaboration with specialists in relevant areas (Bruce Christensen, Psychiatry & Behavioural Neuroscience @ McMaster for work on schizophrenia; Mel Rutherford, Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour @ McMaster University for work on autism). Recent investigations have examined the effects of schizophrenia on face, pattern, and motion perception, and the effects of ASD on face processing and divided attention. 

We currently are extending our work on vision and ASD to determine whether cultural differences interact with ASD to constrain visual processing (e.g., comparing perceptual processing between Canadian observers and Japanese observers; work done in collaboration with Masayoshi Nagai, AIST, Tsukuba, Japan).


Recent sample publications.


M Nagai, PJ Bennett, MD Rutherford, CM Gaspar, T Kumada & AB Sekuler (2013) Comparing face processing strategies between typically-developed observers and observers with autism using sub-sampled-pixels presentation in response classification technique. Vision Research, 79, 27-35


BK Christensen, JMY Spencer, JP King, AB Sekuler & PJ Bennett (2013) Noise as a mechanism of anomalous face processing among persons with schizophrenia. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 401


MD Rutherford, ED Richards, V Moldes & AB Sekuler (2007) Evidence of a divided attention advantage in autism. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 24, 505-515 


MD Rutherford, KA Clements & AB Sekuler (2007) Differences in discrimination of eye and mouth displacement in autism spectrum disorders. Vision Research, 47, 2099-2110


JP King, BK Christensen, AB Sekuler & PJ Bennett (2005) Dissociating dorsal and ventral stream functions via working memory performance in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 31, 363 (conference abstract)


VCNLab research on Vision in Special Populations is funded by CIHR, NSERC, and the Canada Research Chair program.

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