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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jessica Foxton,
Professor Jacqueline Rodgers,
Professor Allan Young,
Professor Tim Griffiths
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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.
Author(s): Foxton JM, Stewart ME, Barnard L, Rodgers J, Young AH, O'Brien G, Griffiths TD
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/12/2003
ISSN (print): 0006-8950
ISSN (electronic): 1460-2156
Publisher: Oxford University Press
PubMed id: 12937074
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