Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 1211–1217 | Cite as

Brief Report: Attenuated Emotional Suppression of the Attentional Blink in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Another Non-Social Abnormality?

  • Sebastian B. Gaigg
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Brief Report


Twenty-five individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and 25 typically developed individuals participated in an Attentional Blink paradigm to determine whether emotional words would capture attention similarly in the two groups. Whilst the emotionality of words facilitated attention in typical comparison participants, this effect was attenuated in the ASD group. The magnitude of the emotional modulation of attention in ASD also correlated significantly with participants’ VIQ, which was not observed for the comparison group. Together these observations replicate and extend the findings of Corden et al. (J Autism Develop Disord 38:1072–1080, 2008) and implicate abnormalities in emotional processes outside the broader context of social cognition in ASD. We discuss our findings in relation to possible abnormalities in amygdala function that may underlie the disorder.


Emotional modulation of attention Attentional Blink Autism Spectrum Disorder Emotional processing Amygdala 



The work reported in this paper was in part supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC-UK).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autism Research Group, Department of PsychologyCity UniversityLondonUK

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