School of Psychological Science

Postgraduate Profiles


Serena Cribb


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Serena Cribb


Visual search performance and global contour integration in autism and the broader autism phenotype


Visual search, referring to our ability to find a target in an array of distractors, is fascinating because it is critical for many tasks we perform in everyday life, from reaching for an object on a cluttered desk to finding a car in a carpark. These tasks seem simple because we perform them with apparent ease, yet they are actually complex and involve many lower-level visual processes. Using psychophysical stimuli, my research focuses on the operation of the lower-level processes that impact on individual differences in visual search, and also the global integration of information. In particular, I am interested in how performance on these tasks differs between age groups, as well as the mechanisms underlying superior performance on these tasks by people with autism and neurotypical people with high levels of autistic traits.

Why my research is important

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding our strengths can help us reach our full potential in life by making life choices that play to those strengths. Performing visual tasks successfully is critical for some careers such as medical imaging and baggage security. Individual differences in performance on visual tasks could therefore have implications for the kinds of jobs people will be best suited to. In particular, we hope that increasing our understanding of the strengths of people with autism and high levels of autistic traits could lend insight into employment options they are likely to be suited to.


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Last updated:
Friday, 23 January, 2015 3:27 PM