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Perception of audio-visual synchrony in infants at elevated likelihood of developing autism spectrum disorder

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Abstract

The inability to perceive audio-visual speech as a unified event may contribute to social impairments and language deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this study, we examined and compared two groups of infants on their sensitivity to audio-visual asynchrony for a social (speaking face) and non-social event (bouncing ball) and assessed the relations between multisensory integration and language production. Infants at elevated likelihood of developing ASD were less sensitive to audio-visual synchrony for the social event than infants without elevated likelihood. Among infants without elevated likelihood, greater sensitivity to audio-visual synchrony for the social event was associated with a larger productive vocabulary.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that early deficits in multisensory integration may impair language development among infants with elevated likelihood of developing ASD.

What is Known:

 

•Perceptual integration of auditory and visual cues within speech is important for language development.

•Prior work suggests that children with ASD are less sensitive to the temporal synchrony within audio-visual speech.

What is New:

 

•In this study, infants at elevated likelihood of developing ASD showed a larger temporal binding window for adynamic social event (Speaking Face) than TD infants, suggesting less efficient multisensory integration.

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Availability of data and material

The datasets during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Funding

This research was supported by grants (#CAUT15APL012 #CAUT20APL003) awarded to the Michael Lewis from the New Jersey Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.

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Suri: writing and data curation; Whedon: writing, review and editing, and data analysis; Lewis: conceptualization, methodology, resources, and funding acquisition.

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Correspondence to Margaret Whedon.

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All study procedures and materials were approved by the Institutional Review Board at Rutgers (protocol number Pro20150001814).

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Informed consent was obtained from parents prior to data collection.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Communicated by Peter de Winter.

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Suri, K.N., Whedon, M. & Lewis, M. Perception of audio-visual synchrony in infants at elevated likelihood of developing autism spectrum disorder. Eur J Pediatr 182, 2105–2117 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-023-04871-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-023-04871-y

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