An Optical Illusion Can Help in Diagnosing Autism

It was discovered that a simple optical illusion developed by researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy could facilitate identification of autism.

Accurate access to the recognition of autism spectrum disorder can be particularly challenging in situations that seem to be borderline. Experts who point out that a person's pupils have widened as they watched a point are getting clues that will enable them to decide which way the person's brain is connected. Researchers have developed a simple optical illusion that can be used to objectively determine the tendency of some individuals to zoom in and out of the bigger picture. The discovery that may have been hoped for in autism has been carried out by researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy.

Autism spectrum disorder involves a range of features, ranging from mild to severe. These typically involve difficulties in handling fine motor control and sensory information, which leads to behaviors such as avoiding excessive stimulation or repetitive movements. Communicating and responding to social cues can be challenging, from pragmatic language difficulties to wholly verbal.

This method uses two layers of opposite points that move in opposite directions within a narrow column. Take a look at the above gif and ask yourself, is the column turning, or are there two points floating over each other? Do not worry about the two results you see. Our mind often makes fun of us in attempts to bring out the meaning of a complex picture. The difference between the two results of the point column illusion depends on how we interpret the two layers. If you see them as rotating cylinders you are not focused, and if you focus on details you will see that they are floating dots on each other.


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Researchers received answers from 50 adults without autism spectrum disorder. Instead of asking the volunteers to see them, the researchers use a uniform feedback family that looks down on their eyes.

Although the analysis was not intended to diagnose the subjects, it allowed them to relate the findings to measurements used to predict autism spectrum impairment. Using illusions to control what the brain is doing is a tried-and-true method. For example, the famous hollow mask optical illusion has been investigated to be a way to diagnose schizophrenia.