May 17, 2024 at 9:32 am

This Optical Illusion Can Pinpoint Potential Autistic Traits Within Seconds

by Trisha Leigh

Source: eLife

The more we learn about autism, the more adults begin to suspect that there might have been a diagnosis related to their personal struggles all this time.

In fact, some say this optical illusion can let you know straight away if talking to your doctor about autism could be in the cards.

A new study published in eLife claims that changes in pupil size as they look at this particular optical illusion correlates with having autistic traits.

It wouldn’t be used for a diagnosis, but simply as a tool that could help you assess the likelihood of a person falling on the spectrum.

The illusion in question is a three-dimensional cylinder spinning, and it works by taking advantage of how pupils change size when you’re looking at light or dark images.

Then, they can track attention by giving a rough idea of where they’re focusing on the screen.

In the gif, a sheet of white dots moves one direction while a sheet of black dots moves in the other direction. For a majority of people, the illusion is of a three-dimensional rotating cylinder.

People who are more detail-focused tend to look at only one color of dots at a time, flicking between them. Their pupils will oscillate in size.

People who look at the image as a whole, though, have pupils that remain constant.

Study participants were also asked to complete a questionnaire before looking at the image, and those who scored higher were more likely to have autistic traits.

Researchers found that those whose pupils oscillated while looking at the illusion also scored higher on the questionnaire. They believe this could have to do with the fact that people on the spectrum are more likely to pay attention to individual sets of dots rather than the image as a whole.

This is pretty cool.

I think the more we understand about how people’s brains work, the better for all of us.

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