My research interest in autism was sparked by the fascinating cognitive strengths shown by many individuals with autism. These include exceptional abilities to process fine details, better discrimination abilities compared to typical individuals and an ability to show highly focussed attention. An important question is whether these cognitive strengths provide the key to understanding some of the difficulties for individuals with autism, such as social communication. More specifically, it raises the question of whether the differences in psychological mechanisms which result in exceptional abilities play a causal role in affecting the development of social information processing and language in autism. However, this question can only be tackled by first understanding the mechanisms which cause the cognitive strengths. My research interests currently focus on mechanisms of perception and attention that may be different in autism compared to typical individuals.