Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1857-1866

First online:

Enhanced Access to Early Visual Processing of Perceptual Simultaneity in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Christine M. FalterAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical and Developmental Neuropsychology, University of GroningenDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Oxford Email author 
  • , Sven BraeutigamAffiliated withOxford Centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA), University of Oxford
  • , Roger NathanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
  • , Sarah CarringtonAffiliated withWales Autism Research Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University
  • , Anthony J. BaileyAffiliated withUBC Institute of Mental Health, University of British Columbia

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We compared judgements of the simultaneity or asynchrony of visual stimuli in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically-developing controls using Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Two vertical bars were presented simultaneously or non-simultaneously with two different stimulus onset delays. Participants with ASD distinguished significantly better between real simultaneity (0 ms delay between two stimuli) and apparent simultaneity (17 ms delay between two stimuli) than controls. In line with the increased sensitivity, event-related MEG activity showed increased differential responses for simultaneity versus apparent simultaneity. The strongest evoked potentials, observed over occipital cortices at about 130 ms, were correlated with performance differences in the ASD group only. Superior access to early visual brain processes in ASD might underlie increased resolution of visual events in perception.


High-functioning autism Asperger syndrome Event timing Visual simultaneity Magnetoencephalography