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Cognitive Load and Feedback in Autism: Evidence From a 3-D Multiple Object Tracking Task

Updated: May 12, 2022

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by differences in visuo-spatial perceptual and attentional abilities. Multiple object tracking (MOT) paradigms are useful in assessing both these abilities, as this task demands the use of sustained, selective, and distributed attention to dynamic visual information. Outcomes of previous MOT studies in ASD have been interpreted within either perceptual (e.g., van de Hallen, 2015) or attentional (e.g., Koldewyn et al., 2013) contexts. As suggested by the Flexible Resource Model (Alvarez and Franconeri, 2007), attentional capacity is increasingly taxed during MOT as the number of target items (i.e., load) of the task increases. We are using a 3D-MOT task to manipulate load in an effort to assess dynamic visual attention in individuals on the autism spectrum.

We are also assessing whether typically beneficial trial-by-trial feedback differentially affects

performance. Our objectives are: (1) To assess the effect of cognitive load on 3D-MOT performance in individuals on the autism spectrum; and (2) To investigate whether performance differs (a) at different levels of cognitive loading, and (b) with or without feedback.

Principal Investigator (PI): Bianca Levy

Institution & Department: McGill University – Department of Educational and Counselling


Supervisor: Dr. Armando Bertone

Year(s) collaborated with SCERT on project: 2016 - 2017


Results of Research Project:

Levy, B., Tullo, D., Mottron, L., Faubert, J., & Bertone, A. (May 2017). Using a 3-D multiple object tracking (MOT) task to assess attentional abilities in autism. Abstract and poster presented at the 16th annual meeting of the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). San Francisco, CA.

OUTCOME Levy et al. IMFAR 2017 Poster - Final (IMFAR 2017)
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