Everything has Its Time: Narrow Temporal Windows are Associated with High Levels of Autistic Traits Via Weaknesses in Multisensory Integration

  • Sayaka KawakamiEmail author
  • Shota Uono
  • Sadao Otsuka
  • Shuo Zhao
  • Motomi Toichi
Original Paper


The present study examined whether fundamental sensory functions such as temporal processing and multisensory integration are related to autistic traits in the general population. Both a narrower temporal window (TW) for simultaneous perception, as measured by a temporal order judgement task, and a reduced ability to engage in multisensory integration during the sound-induced flash illusion task were related to higher levels of autistic traits. Additionally, a narrow TW is associated with high levels of autistic traits due to a deficiency in multisensory integration. Taken together, these findings suggest that alterations in fundamental functions produce a cascading effect on higher-order social and cognitive functions, such as those experienced by people with autism spectrum disorder.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Temporal processing Multisensory integration Social cognition 



We thank Emi Yokoyama for her technical support. This study was supported by the Organization for Promoting Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research (OPNDR), and Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (16K17360), Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences.

Author Contributions

SK, SU, SO, SZ, and MT conceived and designed the experiments. SK performed the experiments. SK, SU, and SO analysed the data. SK wrote the first draft of the manuscript, and SU substantially revised the manuscript. All authors contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the present study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ethics Committee of the Graduate School and Faculty of Medicine at Kyoto University and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

All individual participants included in the present study provided written informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry, Habilitation and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Human Health Sciences, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryKyoto University HospitalKyotoJapan
  4. 4.The Organization for Promoting Neurodevelopmental Disorder ResearchKyotoJapan

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