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Mental Health - Neuroscience - Pediatrics and Child Health

Enhanced Visual Temporal Resolution in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Author: Christine M. Falter et al.

by Christine M. Falter, Mark A. Elliott, Anthony J. Bailey

Cognitive functions that rely on accurate sequencing of events, such as action planning and execution, verbal and nonverbal communication, and social interaction rely on well-tuned coding of temporal event-structure. Visual temporal event-structure coding was tested in 17 high-functioning adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and mental- and chronological-age matched typically-developing (TD) individuals using a perceptual simultaneity paradigm. Visual simultaneity thresholds were lower in individuals with ASD compared to TD individuals, suggesting that autism may be characterised by increased parsing of temporal event-structure, with a decreased capability for integration over time. Lower perceptual simultaneity thresholds in ASD were also related to increased developmental communication difficulties. These results are linked to detail-focussed and local processing bias.