Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 3161–3167 | Cite as

Evidence for Diminished Multisensory Integration in Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Ryan A. StevensonEmail author
  • Justin K. Siemann
  • Tiffany G. Woynaroski
  • Brittany C. Schneider
  • Haley E. Eberly
  • Stephen M. Camarata
  • Mark T. Wallace
Original Paper


Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit alterations in sensory processing, including changes in the integration of information across the different sensory modalities. In the current study, we used the sound-induced flash illusion to assess multisensory integration in children with ASD and typically-developing (TD) controls. Thirty-one children with ASD and 31 age and IQ matched TD children (average age = 12 years) were presented with simple visual (i.e., flash) and auditory (i.e., beep) stimuli of varying number. In illusory conditions, a single flash was presented with 2–4 beeps. In TD children, these conditions generally result in the perception of multiple flashes, implying a perceptual fusion across vision and audition. In the present study, children with ASD were significantly less likely to perceive the illusion relative to TD controls, suggesting that multisensory integration and cross-modal binding may be weaker in some children with ASD. These results are discussed in the context of previous findings for multisensory integration in ASD and future directions for research.


Autism spectrum disorders Sensory processing Audiovisual Multisensory integration Audition Vision 



Funding for this work was provided by a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Institutes of Health Grant F32 DC011993, Multisensory Integration and Temporal Processing in ASD, a Grant from the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, VICTR VR5807.1, Development and Modulation of Multisensory Integration, National Institutes of Health Grant R34 DC010927, Evaluation of Sensory Integration Treatment in ASD, a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center MARI/Hobbs Award, the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, and the Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center. We also acknowledge the help of Walter Lee and Zachary Barnett for technical assistance, and Magali Segers for clinical input.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan A. Stevenson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Justin K. Siemann
    • 3
  • Tiffany G. Woynaroski
    • 4
  • Brittany C. Schneider
    • 5
  • Haley E. Eberly
    • 5
  • Stephen M. Camarata
    • 4
  • Mark T. Wallace
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt Brain InstituteVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Neuroscience Graduate ProgramVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Hearing and Speech SciencesVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Program in NeuroscienceVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  6. 6.Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt Brain InstituteVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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