Poster B8, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Attention to detail predicts adaptation to statistics of sensory environment
Jennifer K. Toulmin1, Ryan A. Stevenson2,3, Ariana Youm1, Samantha Schulz2,3, Morgan D. Barense1,4, Susanne Ferber1,4; 1University of Toronto, 2Western University, 3Brain and Mind Institute, 4Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest
Successful interactions with our environment necessitate effective integration of sensory inputs across different modalities. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show difficulty with multisensory integration. We hypothesised that this may be related to a decreased ability to learn statistical relationships between multiple sensory inputs, possibly owing to their default preference for local over global information. We tested 63 typically-developed adults on a statistical-learning paradigm in which participants were first adapted to consistent temporal relationships between audiovisual stimulus pairs (audio-leading, synchronous, visual-leading) and then had to perform a simultaneity judgement task with audiovisual stimulus pairs varying in temporal offset from auditory-leading to visual-leading. Participants’ responses at each offset were fit with a Gaussian curve to extract their Point of Subjective Simultaneity (PSS). Participants also completed the Autism Quotient (AQ) to assess the extent to which five domains associated with ASD presented in each individual: social skills; attention switching; communication; imagination; and attention to detail. We correlated our measure of statistical learning (i.e., the post-adaptation shift in PSS) with each subscale and found that a significant shift in PSS in the visual-leading adaptation condition correlated with the “attention to detail” subscale (p<0.001, r=-0.45). Thus, less adaptation was related to increased severity of the “attention to detail” ASD trait. These findings suggest that individuals presenting with more pronounced “attention to detail” and thus a greater focus on local aspects of sensory inputs show a decreased ability to learn the statistical temporal relationship between audiovisual inputs, likely impacting their ability to integrate multisensory stimuli.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Multisensory