No rapid audiovisual recalibration in adults on the autism spectrum

Marco Turi, Themelis Karaminis, Elizabeth Pellicano, David Burr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by difficulties in social cognition, but are also associated with atypicalities in sensory and perceptual processing. Several groups have reported that autistic individuals show reduced integration of socially relevant audiovisual signals, which may contribute to the higher-order social and cognitive difficulties observed in autism. Here we use a newly devised technique to study instantaneous adaptation to audiovisual asynchrony in autism. Autistic and typical participants were presented with sequences of brief visual and auditory stimuli, varying in asynchrony over a wide range, from 512 ms auditory-lead to 512 ms auditory-lag, and judged whether they seemed to be synchronous. Typical adults showed strong adaptation effects, with trials proceeded by an auditory-lead needing more auditory-lead to seem simultaneous, and vice versa. However, autistic observers showed little or no adaptation, although their simultaneity curves were as narrow as the typical adults. This result supports recent Bayesian models that predict reduced adaptation effects in autism. As rapid audiovisual recalibration may be fundamental for the optimisation of speech comprehension, recalibration problems could render language processing more difficult in autistic individuals, hindering social communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21756
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

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