Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 253–263 | Cite as

Auditory overselectivity in autistic children

  • Barry S. Reynolds
  • Crighton D. Newsom
  • O. Ivar Lovaas


Autistic and normal children were trained to respond to a complex stimulus containing two auditory components. After the discrimination was acquired, the individual components were presented separately, allowing assessment of the extent to which the child's responding was controlled by one or both of the cues. The autistic children, unlike the normal children, provided evidence for stimulus overselectivity in that 6 of 8 autistic subjects responded to only one of the components. These results are consistent with those of previous studies which showed that when autistic children are presented with a complex visual or multiple-modality stimulus, they selectively respond to only one component of the complex. The present results extend the stimulus overselectivity hypothesis to the situation where all of the stimuli occur within the auditory modality. It is suggested that auditory overselectivity may partially account for autistic deficits in speech comprehension.


Individual Component Normal Child Autistic Child Complex Stimulus Auditory Modality 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry S. Reynolds
    • 2
    • 1
  • Crighton D. Newsom
    • 2
    • 1
  • O. Ivar Lovaas
    • 1
  1. 1.Los Angeles Camarillo State HospitalCamarillo
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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