Brief Report: Suboptimal Auditory Localization in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Support for the Bayesian Account of Sensory Symptoms
Convergent research suggests that people with ASD have difficulties localizing sounds in space. These difficulties have implications for communication, the development of social behavior, and quality of life. Recently, a theory has emerged which treats perceptual symptoms in ASD as the product of impairments in implicit Bayesian inference; as suboptimalities in the integration of sensory evidence with prior perceptual knowledge. We present the results of an experiment that applies this new theory to understanding difficulties in auditory localization, and we find that adults with ASD integrate prior information less optimally when making perceptual judgments about the spatial sources of sounds. We discuss these results in terms of their implications for formal models of symptoms in ASD.
KeywordsSensory symptoms Auditory localization Bayesian models
This project has been supported by seed funding from the Interacting Minds Centre, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their help in improving the paper.
Joshua Skewes designed and conceived the study, analysed the data, and wrote the manuscript. Line Gebauer co-designed the study, collected the data, and contributed to the manuscript.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
- Brown, S. D., & Steyvers, M. (2005). The dynamics of experimentally induced criterion shifts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 31, 587–599.Google Scholar
- Frith, U. (2003). Autism: Explaining the enigma (2nd ed.). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Gebauer, L., Skewes, J., Westphael, G. G., Heaton, P., & Vuust, P. (2014). Intact brain processing of musical emotions in autism spectrum disorder, but more cognitive load and arousal in happy versus sad music. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8(192), 1–10.Google Scholar
- Grandin, T. (1995). Thinking in pictures and other reports from my life with autism. New York, NY: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Green, D. M., & Swets, J. A. (1966). Signal detection theory and psychophysics. New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Lawson, R. P., Rees, G., & Friston, K. J. (2014). An aberrant precision account of autism. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(302), 1–10.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H., Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C. et al. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule-generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 205–223.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Macmillan, N. A., & Creelman, C. D. (2004). Detection theory: A user’s guide (2nd ed.). Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Plaisted, K., O’Riordan, M., & Baron-Cohen, S. (1998). Enhanced visual search for a conjunctive target in autism: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39(777–783), 1717.Google Scholar
- van Boxtel, J. A., & Lu, H. (2013). A predictive coding perspective on autism spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(19), 1–3.Google Scholar
- Visser, E., Zwiers, M. P., Kan, C. C., Hoekstra, L., van Opstal, A. J., & Buitelaar, J. K. (2013). Atypical vertical sound localization and sound-onset sensitivity in people with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 38(6), 398–406.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar