Poster B33, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Inflexible Cognitive Control Processes in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Jeremy Hogeveen1, Matthew Elliott1, Christine Wu Nordahl1, Marie K Krug1, Marjorie Solomon1; 1University of California-Davis
Adaptive behavior relies on the ability to flexibly alternate between ‘reactive’ and ‘proactive’ cognitive control modes according to their task-relevance. In reactive mode, attention, perception and action are mobilized online in response to changes in the environment (slamming the brakes to avoid a car accident), whereas proactive control is deployed in advance of changes in the environment and in line with one’s goals (lightly tapping the brakes to signal traffic slowing to other drivers). Prior studies indicated that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrated impaired proactive control relative to typically-developing participants (TYP). The present study further investigated reactive and proactive control in ASD using a continuous performance test modified for children (AX-CPT; Chatham, Frank, Munakata, 2009). Twenty-eight children ages 8-14 with ASD and 34 age and IQ-matched TYPs completed the AX-CPT, wherein the majority of trials were targets (‘AX’ trials) and a minority were nontargets (‘AY’, ‘BX’, ‘BY’). Nontargets were used to isolate control modes: ‘BX’ trials should be difficult for individuals relying on reactive control (‘X’ probe matches the target) and ‘AY’ trials should be difficult for individuals relying on proactive control (‘A’ cue matches the target). Interestingly, we observed a significant cue*probe*diagnosis interaction: ASD was associated with delayed responding on both ‘BX’ and ‘AY’ trials relative to TYP. Therefore, whereas previous work suggested an overreliance on reactive control in lieu of proactive control in ASD, the present study suggests that individuals with ASD demonstrate a diminished ability to adaptively shift between control modes to meet task demands.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Goal maintenance & switching