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Reduced visual disengagement but intact phasic alerting in young children with autism
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2017 (English)In: Autism Research, ISSN 1939-3792, E-ISSN 1939-3806, Vol. 10, no 3, 539-545 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Children with autism may have difficulties with visual disengagement-that is, inhibiting current fixations and orienting to new stimuli in the periphery. These difficulties may limit these children's ability to flexibly monitor the environment, regulate their internal states, and interact with others. In typical development, visual disengagement is influenced by a phasic alerting network that increases the processing speed of the visual system after salient events. The role of the phasic alerting effect in the putative atypical disengagement performance in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not known. Here, we compared visual disengagement in six-year-old children with autism (Nā€‰=ā€‰18) and typically developing children (Nā€‰=ā€‰17) matched for age and nonverbal IQ. We manipulated phasic alerting during a visual disengagement task by adding spatially nonpredictive sounds shortly before the onset of the visual peripheral targets. Children with ASD showed evidence of delayed disengagement compared to the control group. Sounds facilitated visual disengagement similarly in both groups, suggesting typical modulation by phasic alerting in ASD in the context of this task. These results support the view that atypical visual disengagement in ASD is related to other factors than atypicalities in the alerting network. Autism Res 2016.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 10, no 3, 539-545 p.
Keyword [en]
autism, attention, gap effect, visual disengagement, alerting, orienting, arousal
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309281DOI: 10.1002/aur.1675ISI: 000398544600013PubMedID: 27696688OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-309281DiVA: diva2:1051683
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-03670Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, NHS14-1802:1
Available from: 2016-12-02 Created: 2016-12-02 Last updated: 2017-06-15Bibliographically approved

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Lundin Kleberg, JohanThorup, EmiliaFalck-Ytter, Terje
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