Decreased coherent motion discrimination in autism spectrum disorder: the role of attentional zoom-out deficit.

Luca Ronconi, Simone Gori, Milena Ruffino, Sandro Franceschini, Barbara Urbani, Massimo Molteni, Andrea Facoetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been associated with decreased coherent dot motion (CDM) performance, a task that measures magnocellular sensitivity as well as fronto-parietal attentional integration processing. In order to clarify the role of spatial attention in CDM tasks, we measured the perception of coherently moving dots displayed in the central or peripheral visual field in ASD and typically developing children. A dorsal-stream deficit in children with ASD should predict a generally poorer performance in both conditions. In our study, however, we show that in children with ASD, CDM perception was selectively impaired in the central condition. In addition, in the ASD group, CDM efficiency was correlated to the ability to zoom out the attentional focus. Importantly, autism symptoms severity was related to both the CDM and attentional zooming-out impairment. These findings suggest that a dysfunction in the attentional network might help to explain decreased CDM discrimination as well as the "core" social cognition deficits of ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49019
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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