We compared judgements of the simultaneity or asynchrony of visual stimuli in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically-developing controls using Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Two vertical bars were presented simultaneously or non-simultaneously with two different stimulus onset delays. Participants with ASD distinguished significantly better between real simultaneity (0 ms delay between two stimuli) and apparent simultaneity (17 ms delay between two stimuli) than controls. In line with the increased sensitivity, event-related MEG activity showed increased differential responses for simultaneity versus apparent simultaneity. The strongest evoked potentials, observed over occipital cortices at about 130 ms, were correlated with performance differences in the ASD group only. Superior access to early visual brain processes in ASD might underlie increased resolution of visual events in perception.
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We thank all participants for their time and commitment and the Baily Thomas Charitable Trust for financial support. CMF was supported by a German Research Council (DFG) Fellowship.
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Falter, C.M., Braeutigam, S., Nathan, R. et al. Enhanced Access to Early Visual Processing of Perceptual Simultaneity in Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 43, 1857–1866 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1735-1
- High-functioning autism
- Asperger syndrome
- Event timing
- Visual simultaneity