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Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 Jul;118(7):1464-71. Epub 2007 May 25.

Electrophysiological abnormalities of spatial attention in adults with autism during the gap overlap task.

Author information

1
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Tokyo, Japan. yukik-tky@umin.ac.jp

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We evaluated event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by attentional disengagement in individuals with autism.

METHODS:

Sixteen adults with autism, 17 adults with mental retardation and 14 healthy adults participated in this study. We recorded the pre-saccade positive ERPs during the gap overlap task under which a peripheral stimulus was presented subsequent to a stimulus in the central visual field. Under the overlap condition, the central stimulus remained during the presentation of the peripheral stimulus and therefore participants need to disengage their attention intentionally in order to execute the saccade to the peripheral stimulus due to the preservation of the central stimulus.

RESULTS:

The autism group elicited significantly higher pre-saccadic positivity during a period of 100-70 ms prior to the saccade onset than the other groups only under the overlap condition. The higher amplitude of pre-saccadic positivity in the overlap condition was significantly correlated with more severe clinical symptoms within the autism group.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results demonstrate electrophysiological abnormalities of disengagement during visuospatial attention in adults with autism which cannot be attributed to their IQs.

SIGNIFICANCE:

We suggest that adults with autism have deficits in attentional disengagement and the physiological substrates underlying deficits in autism and mental retardation are different.

PMID:
17532260
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2007.04.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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