Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1904–1909

Brief Report: Biological Sound Processing in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

  • Melissa Lortie
  • Léa Proulx-Bégin
  • Dave Saint-Amour
  • Dominique Cousineau
  • Hugo Théoret
  • Jean-François Lepage
Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3093-5

Cite this article as:
Lortie, M., Proulx-Bégin, L., Saint-Amour, D. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2017) 47: 1904. doi:10.1007/s10803-017-3093-5


There is debate whether social impairments in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are truly domain-specific, or if they reflect generalized deficits in lower-level cognitive processes. To solve this issue, we used auditory-evoked EEG responses to assess novelty detection (MMN component) and involuntary attentional orientation (P3 component) induced by socially-relevant, human-produced, biological sounds and acoustically-matched control stimuli in children with ASD and controls. Results show that early sensory and novelty processing of biological stimuli are preserved in ASD, but that automatic attentional orientation for biological sounds is markedly altered. These results support the notion that at least some cognitive processes of ASD are specifically altered when it comes to processing social stimuli.


Social impairments Event related potentials EEG Biological actions Auditory Attention Novelty detection MMN P3 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé
  • 34604

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada
  3. 3.CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and Department of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  5. 5.CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center and Department of PsychologyUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsSherbrooke University, CHU Sherbrooke Research CenterSherbrookeCanada
  7. 7.Université du Québec à Trois-RivièresTrois-RivièresCanada
  8. 8.CHU Sainte-Justine Research CenterMontréalCanada

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