Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism

Ilan Dinstein, David J. Heeger, Lauren Lorenzi, Nancy J. Minshew, Rafael Malach, Marlene Behrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Autism has been described as a disorder of general neural processing, but the particular processing characteristics that might be abnormal in autism have mostly remained obscure. Here, we present evidence of one such characteristic: poor evoked response reliability. We compared cortical response amplitude and reliability (consistency across trials) in visual, auditory, and somatosensory cortices of high-functioning individuals with autism and controls. Mean response amplitudes were statistically indistinguishable across groups, yet trial-by-trial response reliability was significantly weaker in autism, yielding smaller signal-to-noise ratios in all sensory systems. Response reliability differences were evident only in evoked cortical responses and not in ongoing resting-state activity. These findings reveal that abnormally unreliable cortical responses, even to elementary nonsocial sensory stimuli, may represent a fundamental physiological alteration of neural processing in autism. The results motivate a critical expansion of autism research to determine whether (and how) basic neural processing properties such as reliability, plasticity, and adaptation/habituation are altered in autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-991
Number of pages11
JournalNeuron
Volume75
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012

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Autistic Disorder
Auditory Cortex
Somatosensory Cortex
Signal-To-Noise Ratio
Visual Cortex
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Dinstein, I., Heeger, D. J., Lorenzi, L., Minshew, N. J., Malach, R., & Behrmann, M. (2012). Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism. Neuron, 75(6), 981-991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.07.026

Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism. / Dinstein, Ilan; Heeger, David J.; Lorenzi, Lauren; Minshew, Nancy J.; Malach, Rafael; Behrmann, Marlene.

In: Neuron, Vol. 75, No. 6, 20.09.2012, p. 981-991.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dinstein, I, Heeger, DJ, Lorenzi, L, Minshew, NJ, Malach, R & Behrmann, M 2012, 'Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism', Neuron, vol. 75, no. 6, pp. 981-991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.07.026
Dinstein I, Heeger DJ, Lorenzi L, Minshew NJ, Malach R, Behrmann M. Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism. Neuron. 2012 Sep 20;75(6):981-991. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2012.07.026
Dinstein, Ilan ; Heeger, David J. ; Lorenzi, Lauren ; Minshew, Nancy J. ; Malach, Rafael ; Behrmann, Marlene. / Unreliable Evoked Responses in Autism. In: Neuron. 2012 ; Vol. 75, No. 6. pp. 981-991.
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