Not sure if this experiment proves that kids with autism see motion more vividly or see contrast more vividly, but the University of Rochester certainly seems to think that the difference is motion detection. Either way, this new understanding of the way autistic people view the world may help us understand what Autism truly is:
“We think of autism as a social disorder because children with this condition often struggle with social interactions, but what we sometimes neglect is that almost everything we know about the world comes from our senses. Abnormalities in how a person sees or hears can have a profound effect on social communication.”
The experiment showed kids video loops of parallel lines which moved either to the left or to the right. Kids were asked to tell which direction the lines were moving in. At low contrast, when the darkness of the lines was only subtly more dark than the surrounding background, kids in both groups performed about as well. But when the contrast was heightened, autistic kids’ abilities shot off the charts, relative to their non-autistic peers.
The article goes on to note that people with autism often report sensitivity to light. Why then does this report focus on motion when the variable that is being adjusted is contrast?