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Poster D113

Effect of Autism Spectrum Disorder on Behavioural and EEG Measures of Multisensory Integration

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Michelle Luszawski1,2,3,4 (, Carolynn Hare1,2,3,4, Julia Shannon1,2, Yuhe Li1, Samantha Schulz1,2,3,4, Ryan Stevenson1,2,3,4; 1Western University, 2Department of Psychology, 3Centre for Brain and Mind, 4Western Institute for Neuroscience

Sensory differences are common in autistic individuals, reported in up to 94% of individuals. One aspect of sensory processing thought to be impacted is the ability to combine sensory information across sensory modalities, or multisensory integration. While there is an abundance of evidence that integration is impacted, behavioural findings are not entirely consistent. However, previous imaging studies have shown that even when little to no behavioural differences in multisensory integration are observed, differences in the neural mechanisms underlying integration are still seen. In this study, we examined whether there is an effect of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis on multisensory integration using a speeded response task paired with electroencephalography (EEG) measures. Autistic children (n= 9; 11.4 years, data collection ongoing) and typically developing (TD) children (n= 15; 11.9 years) were presented with auditory pure tones, visual Gabor patches, or a combination of both, all embedded in audiovisual white noise and were instructed to respond as quickly as possible when they detected a stimulus. Stimuli were presented at the participants’ unisensory 50% detection threshold, determined via a psychophysical staircase procedure. Only a small effect of diagnosis on accuracy gain and on the magnitude of violations of Miller’s race model was found. However, preliminary analysis suggests there are neural differences in parietal and occipital regions between the two groups. Taken together, these results suggest that neural differences for multisensory integration may exist in autistic compared to TD children, even when behavioural performance is well matched.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Multisensory


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