Neural mechanisms underlying an extended multisensory temporal binding window in ASD

Completed

Foss-Feig, Jennifer

Stone, Wendy

Vanderbilt University

$56,000.00

2 years

Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship

Nashville

TN

United States

2009

http://www.vanderbilt.edu

City: 
Nashville
State/Province: 
TN
State/Province Full: 
Tennessee
Country: 
United States

It has long been reported that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience high rates of sensory disturbances, including sensory fascinations, sensitivities, and aversions, as well as difficulty integrating and understanding information occurring simultaneously across multiple senses. Previous studies in our lab have found that children with ASD have difficulty discriminating presentation order of rapidly-occurring sensory information and ?bind together? information from multiple senses across an extended time window. The timing of brain responses to basic sensory information could underlie the everyday sensory difficulties so commonly reported in ASD, as well as other core symptoms such as communication and social difficulties. The proposed study will use noninvasive measures of brain electrical activity (EEG) to examine differences in brain processes that underlie: (1) processing of timing information in basic sensory information, and (2) binding together of multisensory stimuli (i.e., sights and sounds occurring close together in time). The study will also examine how differences in sensory and multisensory processing and the brain functions that underlie them relate to observed and reported individual differences in social, communication, and sensory symptoms. Finding out how the brain responds to and integrates rapidly-presented sensory information is essential for understanding sensory disturbances commonly reported in ASD and how these differences may relate to core deficits (i.e., communication, reciprocal social interaction, restricted/repetitive behaviors) in ASD. Understanding the nature and level of sensory processing difficulties may eventually lead to targeted diagnostic and intervention strategies. [BSRC]