The present study investigates visual orienting to directional cues (arrow or eyes) in adults with high functioning autism (n = 19) and age matched controls (n = 19). A choice reaction time paradigm is used in which eye- or arrow direction correctly (congruent) or incorrectly (incongruent) cues target location. In typically developing participants, the visual orienting reflex is longer for eyes than for arrows. Right side cueing, but not left side cueing, induced a congruence effect for eyes, while this effect was evident for right as well as for left side arrow cues. In participants with autism the overall visual orienting reflex was not different between arrows and eyes and no laterality effect was found for eyes cueing. These findings suggest that, instead of a specific Eye Direction Detector persons with autism might have a general 'Symbol Direction Detector'.
Vlamings, P. H. J. M., Stauder, J. E. A., van Son, I. A., & Mottron, L. (2005). Atypical visual orienting to gaze- and arrow-cues in adults with high functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 35(3), 267-277. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-005-3289-y