Increased sub-clinical levels of autistic traits are associated with reduced multisensory integration of audiovisual speech

Thijs van Laarhoven*, Jeroen Stekelenburg, Jean Vroomen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Recent studies suggest that sub-clinical levels of autistic symptoms may be related to reduced processing of artificial audiovisual stimuli. It is unclear whether these findings extent to more natural stimuli such as audiovisual speech. The current study examined the relationship between autistic traits measured by the Autism spectrum Quotient and audiovisual speech processing in a large non-clinical population using a battery of experimental tasks assessing audiovisual perceptual binding, visual enhancement of speech embedded in noise and audiovisual temporal processing. Several associations were found between autistic traits and audiovisual speech processing. Increased autistic-like imagination was related to reduced perceptual binding measured by the McGurk illusion. Increased overall autistic symptomatology was associated with reduced visual enhancement of speech intelligibility in noise. Participants reporting increased levels of rigid and restricted behaviour were more likely to bind audiovisual speech stimuli over longer temporal intervals, while an increased tendency to focus on local aspects of sensory inputs was related to a more narrow temporal binding window. These findings demonstrate that increased levels of autistic traits may be related to alterations in audiovisual speech processing, and are consistent with the notion of a spectrum of autistic traits that extends to the general population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9535
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • ADULTS
  • CHILDREN
  • DISORDER
  • INTERSENSORY SYNCHRONY
  • NARROWS
  • PERCEPTION
  • SPECTRUM QUOTIENT AQ
  • SUSCEPTIBILITY
  • TEMPORAL BINDING WINDOW

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