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Absence of auditory 'global interference' in autism

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jessica Foxton, Mary Stewart, Louise Barnard, Professor Jacqueline Rodgers, Professor Allan Young, Professor Tim Griffiths

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Abstract

There has been considerable recent interest in the cognitive style of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). One theory, that of weak central coherence, concerns an inability to combine stimulus details into a coherent whole. Here we test this theory in the case of sound patterns, using a new definition of the details (local structure) and the coherent whole (global structure). Thirteen individuals with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's syndrome and 15 control participants were administered auditory tests, where they were required to match local pitch direction changes between two auditory sequences. When the other local features of the sequence pairs were altered (the actual pitches and relative time points of pitch direction change), the control participants obtained lower scores compared with when these details were left unchanged. This can be attributed to interference from the global structure, defined as the combination of the local auditory details. In contrast, the participants with ASD did not obtain lower scores in the presence of such mismatches. This was attributed to the absence of interference from an auditory coherent whole. The results are consistent with the presence of abnormal interactions between local and global auditory perception in ASD.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Foxton JM, Stewart ME, Barnard L, Rodgers J, Young AH, O'Brien G, Griffiths TD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Brain

Year: 2003

Volume: 126

Issue: 12

Pages: 2703-2709

Print publication date: 01/12/2003

ISSN (print): 0006-8950

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2156

Publisher: Oxford University Press

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awg274

DOI: 10.1093/brain/awg274

PubMed id: 12937074


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