4. EP-ACTIVITY… Enhanced Perception (EP) activity has emerged as the fourth proposed pattern of sensory response possibly unique to individuals with ASD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5). This DSM-5 version of the psychiatric manual is currently used by clinicians for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
EP activity is characterized by sensory strengths in visual and auditory perception; plus, enhanced low-level discrimination or low-threshold detection, and hyper-systemizing cognitive styles. These powers could be enhanced motion perception, superior visual perception and/or auditory processing.
< My Thoughts > “…These powers could be enhanced perception, as in the following intelligences –“
- Musical – become proficient without previous training or practice.
- Mathematical – intuitively develop calculations quickly & accurately without aids or devices.
- Kinesthetic/tactile – knowing and working on the exquisite details of machinery without prior knowledge.
- Spatial & pictorial – creation of 3-diamensional drawings, paintings, sculptures and memorization of maps & geography without first studying them.
- Linguistic – ability to understand, read, write, speak & translate multiple previously unknown languages quickly & accurately.
Hagmann, et al. (2016) believe that their visually enhanced perception may allow for searching superiority by individuals with autism, compared to their typically developing peers. The study found that this enhanced ‘local’ processing was related to both detection and discrimination abilities, including performance on visual search tasks. Persons with these powers of enhanced perception were better at detecting a target in an array of distracters which shared common features, or in disembedding figures quickly and efficiently.
< My Thoughts > “…disembedding figures.”
When hearing about disembedded figures, my mind jumped to the game of ‘Finding Waldo’, or of finding the ‘Hidden Picture’ in the puzzles we love. And, the term ‘local processing, or ‘locally oriented’ brings to mind the idiom… “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” The person with EP will most likely uses their ‘local’ processing to immediately search out the tree. While their peers, without EP, using their ‘global’ processing to automatically see all the trees as a forest. Smiles.
Bouvet, et al. (2013) tell us that persons with enhanced auditory perception possess superior talents and abilities. An atypical pattern of expression resulting in being able to see enhanced perceptual patterns. These can be the discrimination of superior pitch among multiple musical examples. This ability allows for the person to recognize the differences in the increase and decrease in frequencies between two melodies. But, these individuals with superior perceptual processing are NOT always able to filter out auditory information from background noise.
< My Thoughts > “NOT always able to filter out auditory information…”
So this may be like visual pattern discrimination of finding the dark purple letter among the solid black ones. Only, this is auditory pattern discrimination - finding the superior pitch among several melodies with partially 'pitchy' refrains. Smiles.
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