Predictable information in neural signals during resting state is reduced in autism spectrum disorder.

Hum Brain Mapp. 2018 Apr 04;:

Authors: Brodski-Guerniero A, Naumer MJ, Moliadze V, Chan J, Althen H, Ferreira-Santos F, Lizier JT, Schlitt S, Kitzerow J, Schütz M, Langer A, Kaiser J, Freitag CM, Wibral M

The neurophysiological underpinnings of the nonsocial symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which include sensory and perceptual atypicalities remain poorly understood. Well-known accounts of less dominant top-down influences and more dominant bottom-up processes compete to explain these characteristics. These accounts have been recently embedded in the popular framework of predictive coding theory. To differentiate between competing accounts, we studied altered information dynamics in ASD by quantifying predictable information in neural signals. Predictable information in neural signals measures the amount of stored information that is used for the next time step of a neural process. Thus, predictable information limits the (prior) information which might be available for other brain areas, for example, to build predictions for upcoming sensory information. We studied predictable information in neural signals based on resting-state magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings of 19 ASD patients and 19 neurotypical controls aged between 14 and 27 years. Using whole-brain beamformer source analysis, we found reduced predictable information in ASD patients across the whole brain, but in particular in posterior regions of the default mode network. In these regions, epoch-by-epoch predictable information was positively correlated with source power in the alpha and beta frequency range as well as autocorrelation decay time. Predictable information in precuneus and cerebellum was negatively associated with nonsocial symptom severity, indicating a relevance of the analysis of predictable information for clinical research in ASD. Our findings are compatible with the assumption that use or precision of prior knowledge is reduced in ASD patients.

PMID: 29617056 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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