Predictive coding in autism spectrum disorders: Electrophysiological alterations in early auditory predictive processing as potential markers for autistic symptomatology.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder that has been linked to a range of perceptual processing alterations, including hypo- and hyperresponsiveness to auditory stimulation. A recently proposed theory that attempts to account for these symptoms suggests that autistic individuals have a decreased ability to anticipate upcoming sensory stimulation.

Here, we tested this hypothesis with a series of event-related potential (ERP) studies in which we compared the neural correlates of motor-auditory prediction (N1 attenuation), visual-auditory prediction error (omission N1) and deviancy detection (MMN) of auditory, visual and audiovisual speech between individuals with ASD and age-matched individuals with typical development.

The results of our first ERP study showed that, unlike in age-matched participants with typical development, self-initiation of tones through a button press did not attenuate the auditory N1 in autistic individuals, indicating that the ability to anticipate the auditory sensory consequences of self-initiated motor actions might be decreased in ASD. The results of our second study showed that unexpected omissions of a sound of which the timing and content could be predicted by preceding visual anticipatory motion elicited an increased early auditory omission response (oN1) in the ASD group, indicating that violations of the prediction model may produce larger prediction errors in individuals with ASD when compared to their neurotypical peers. Finally, our third study showed that deviancy detection of auditory speech is reduced in autistic individuals, while deviancy detection of visual speech and incongruent audiovisual speech seems to be intact.

Taken together, our findings suggest that individuals with ASD may indeed experience difficulties in anticipating upcoming auditory stimulation. Importantly, these difficulties might be due to domain-specific alterations, rather than general impairments in predictive coding. This notion provides potential avenues for future research on electrophysiological markers for autistic symptomatology.
Period7 Jul 2022
Event titleThe 20th International Multisensory Research Forum (IMRF)
Event typeConference
Conference number20
LocationUlm, GermanyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • predictive coding
  • ERPs
  • event-related potentials
  • multisensory integration