People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often show inferior global motion performance with superior performance in detail form perception, suggesting dysfunction of the dorsal visual stream. To elucidate the neural basis of impaired global motion perception in ASD, we measured psychophysical threshold and visual event-related potentials (ERPs) with a 128-channel system in 12 ASD and 12 healthy control adults. Radial optic flow (OF) and horizontal motion (HO) were used as the visual stimuli. The former was related to the ventro-dorsal stream formed by the inferior parietal lobule, while the latter was conveyed from the dorso-dorsal stream formed by the superior parietal lobule. No significant group differences were observed in the motion thresholds for both OF and HO. N170 and P200 were elicited as major components of ERPs in both groups. However, the latencies of both components for OF but not HO were significantly prolonged in ASD compared with the control group. Our ERP results suggest that ASD has a selective impairment for OF processing even though the psychophysical thresholds are preserved. Therefore, we provide the first electrophysiological evidence for altered function of the higher-level dorsal visual stream in ASD, specifically the ventro-dorsal stream closely related to OF perception.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health