This study assessed configural visual abilities in 13 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They were compared to 13 children matched on verbal mental age and 13 children matched on chronological age. Visual processing abilities were tested through four tasks 1) Silhouette, 2) Fragmented objects, 3) Mooney faces, and 4) Hierarchical figures. In the first three tasks it was necessary to take into account the global information, as the identification of the figures could not be effected through a local analysis. In the fourth task, the global information was in competition with the local information in order to assess a preferential bias for one level over the other. The configural perceptual capacities of the autistic population are discussed.
Keywords: autistic syndrome disorder, configural processing, Mooney faces, global/local