Differing Developmental Trajectories in Heart Rate Responses to Speech Stimuli in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
We investigated heart rate (HR) in infants at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age, at high (HRA) and low (LRC) familial risk for ASD, to identify potential endophenotypes of ASD risk related to attentional responses. HR was extracted from functional near-infrared spectroscopy recordings while infants listened to speech stimuli. Longitudinal analysis revealed that HRA infants and males generally had lower baseline HR than LRC infants and females. HRA infants showed decreased HR responses to early trials over development, while LRC infants showed increased responses. These findings suggest altered developmental trajectories in physiological responses to speech stimuli over the first year of life, with HRA infants showing less social orienting over time.