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