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Early enhanced processing and delayed habituation to deviance sounds in autism spectrum disorder.

Brain Cogn. 2018 Mar 15;123:110-119

Authors: Hudac CM, DesChamps TD, Arnett AB, Cairney BE, Ma R, Webb SJ, Bernier RA

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit difficulties processing and encoding sensory information in daily life. Cognitive response to environmental change in control individuals is naturally dynamic, meaning it habituates or reduces over time as one becomes accustomed to the deviance. The origin of atypical response to deviance in ASD may relate to differences in this dynamic habituation. The current study of 133 children and young adults with and without ASD examined classic electrophysiological responses (MMN and P3a), as well as temporal patterns of habituation (i.e., N1 and P3a change over time) in response to a passive auditory oddball task. Individuals with ASD showed an overall heightened sensitivity to change as exhibited by greater P3a amplitude to novel sounds. Moreover, youth with ASD showed dynamic ERP differences, including slower attenuation of the N1 response to infrequent tones and the P3a response to novel sounds. Dynamic ERP responses were related to parent ratings of auditory sensory-seeking behaviors, but not general cognition. As the first large-scale study to characterize temporal dynamics of auditory ERPs in ASD, our results provide compelling evidence that heightened response to auditory deviance in ASD is largely driven by early sensitivity and prolonged processing of auditory deviance.

PMID: 29550506 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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