August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Intact Multisensory Integration of Low-Level Visual and Auditory Information in ASD
Author Affiliations
  • Vanessa Bao
    Perceptual Neuroscience Lab (PNLab) for Autism and Development, McGill University
  • Victoria Doobay
    Perceptual Neuroscience Lab (PNLab) for Autism and Development, McGill University
  • Laurent Mottron
    University of Montreal Center of Excellence for Pervasive Developmental Disorders (CETEDUM)
  • Olivier Collignon
    Università degli Studi di Trento, Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
  • Armando Bertone
    Perceptual Neuroscience Lab (PNLab) for Autism and Development, McGill University
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 671. doi:10.1167/14.10.671
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      Vanessa Bao, Victoria Doobay, Laurent Mottron, Olivier Collignon, Armando Bertone; Intact Multisensory Integration of Low-Level Visual and Auditory Information in ASD. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):671. doi: 10.1167/14.10.671.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Research suggests that deficient multisensory integration (MSI) may partially underlie sensory-seeking or sensory-aversion behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Iarocci & McDonald, 2006). Most of the evidence supporting this hypothesis comes from studies that use socio-communicative stimuli (i.e., speech, faces) or complex cognitive tasks. This study’s goal was to investigate MSI abilities in ASD using low-level stimuli that are void of social content to disentangle multisensory integration from the confounding role of a possible social deficit. To do so, 20 adolescents / adults with and without ASD completed 2 low-level MSI tasks. For the flash-beep illusion task (Shams et al. 2000), participants responded whether they saw 1 or 2 flashes (F) while simultaneously hearing 0, 1, or 2 beeps (B). They were exposed to four non-illusion trials (i.e., 2F2B, 2F0B, 1F1B, 1F0B) and two illusion trials (i.e., fission/fusion illusions), whereby a discordant number of flashes and beeps were presented. Illusion susceptibility (i.e., accuracy) was measured. For the target detection task, participants were asked to respond as quickly and accurately as possible (using a button press) to either visual (flash), auditory (beep) or audiovisual stimuli (flash and beep presented together) (Williams et al., 2010). RTs were measured for all conditions. For the flash-beep illusion task, the ASD group was equally susceptible to the fission illusion, and significantly more susceptible to the fusion illusion. This indicates no evidence of impaired MSI in ASD, and may even speak to a more automatic and less selective MSI process. For the target detection task, no between-group differences in RT were found across conditions; both groups demonstrated multisensory facilitation on audiovisual trials. Results suggest that MSI for simple, non-social information is an intact ability in ASD. Since the same participants completed both tasks, we are assessing whether MSI abilities are consistent across tasks for each participant.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014

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