Effect size of search superiority in autism spectrum disorder

Paul A. Constable, Kristin Bailey, Ashleigh Beck, Deanna Borrello, Marina Kozman, Katie Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This review of the literature in visual search superiority in autism was intended to quantify the effect size of visual search performance in autism. Not all studies have found an advantage within the autistic population. Early findings on search superiority have led to different proposed mechanisms for the observed results. A review of feature search found that the effect size was low across 15 included studies (Cohen's d 0.089 [−0.150 to 0.293]). However, the effect size was larger for more complex search paradigms using a conjunctive search strategy with Cohen's d showing a moderate effect of 0.223 (0.087 to 0.293). The majority of studies were limited to a small sample size and biased toward the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum. The overall results indicate that within the autism spectrum disorder population there is a low to moderate search advantage compared to typically developing individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • conjunctive search
  • effect size
  • feature search
  • visual search


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