Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 9, pp 3068–3077 | Cite as

Late Positive Potential ERP Responses to Social and Nonsocial Stimuli in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Stephen D. Benning
  • Megan Kovac
  • Alana Campbell
  • Stephanie Miller
  • Eleanor K. Hanna
  • Cara R. Damiano
  • Antoinette Sabatino-DiCriscio
  • Lauren Turner-Brown
  • Noah J. Sasson
  • Rachel V. Aaron
  • Jessica Kinard
  • Gabriel S. Dichter
Original Paper


We examined the late positive potential (LPP) event related potential in response to social and nonsocial stimuli from youths 9 to 19 years old with (n = 35) and without (n = 34) ASD. Social stimuli were faces with positive expressions and nonsocial stimuli were related to common restricted interests in ASD (e.g., electronics, vehicles, etc.). The ASD group demonstrated relatively smaller LPP amplitude to social stimuli and relatively larger LPP amplitude to nonsocial stimuli. There were no group differences in subjective ratings of images, and there were no significant correlations between LPP amplitude and ASD symptom severity within the ASD group. LPP results suggest blunted motivational responses to social stimuli and heightened motivational responses to nonsocial stimuli in youth with ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Social Restricted interests Late positive potential Motivation 



We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the families who participated in this study. This research was supported by MH081285, MH073402, HD079124, and the UNC-CH Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship (CRD).

Author Contributions

SDB implemented the psychophysiological data collection protocols with RVA's assistance and programmed the study while refining its design; he also supervised data reduction and analyses, contributed to the introduction and discussion, and finalized the method and results. GSD and NJS selected stimuli for this study and designed its parameters; GSD also supervised MK's and AC's analyses of the data and drafted the manuscript. SM monitored the collection and integrity of the psychophysiological data under GSD's supervision, while CRD and LT-B monitored participants' clinical characterization. EKH, ASD, and JK provided additional scholarly input throughout the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and provided scholarly feedback on its contents.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen D. Benning
    • 1
  • Megan Kovac
    • 2
  • Alana Campbell
    • 3
  • Stephanie Miller
    • 4
  • Eleanor K. Hanna
    • 5
  • Cara R. Damiano
    • 3
    • 6
  • Antoinette Sabatino-DiCriscio
    • 6
    • 7
  • Lauren Turner-Brown
    • 8
  • Noah J. Sasson
    • 9
  • Rachel V. Aaron
    • 10
  • Jessica Kinard
    • 3
  • Gabriel S. Dichter
    • 3
    • 5
    • 11
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada at Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social WorkChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  6. 6.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  7. 7.Geisinger Autism CenterLewisburgUSA
  8. 8.UNC TEACCHCarrboroUSA
  9. 9.School of Behavioral and Brain SciencesUniversity of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA
  10. 10.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  11. 11.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of MedicineChapel HillUSA

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