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Atypical audiovisual speech integration in infants at risk for autism

Guiraud, J.A. and Tomalski, Przemyslaw and Kushnerenko, Elena and Ribeiro, H. and Davies, K. and Charman, T. and Elsabbagh, Mayada and Johnson, Mark H. (2012) Atypical audiovisual speech integration in infants at risk for autism. PLoS ONE 7 (5), ISSN 1932-6203.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036428

Abstract

The language difficulties often seen in individuals with autism might stem from an inability to integrate audiovisual information, a skill important for language development. We investigated whether 9-month-old siblings of older children with autism, who are at an increased risk of developing autism, are able to integrate audiovisual speech cues. We used an eye-tracker to record where infants looked when shown a screen displaying two faces of the same model, where one face is articulating/ba/and the other/ga/, with one face congruent with the syllable sound being presented simultaneously, the other face incongruent. This method was successful in showing that infants at low risk can integrate audiovisual speech: they looked for the same amount of time at the mouths in both the fusible visual/ga/− audio/ba/and the congruent visual/ba/− audio/ba/displays, indicating that the auditory and visual streams fuse into a McGurk-type of syllabic percept in the incongruent condition. It also showed that low-risk infants could perceive a mismatch between auditory and visual cues: they looked longer at the mouth in the mismatched, non-fusible visual/ba/− audio/ga/display compared with the congruent visual/ga/− audio/ga/display, demonstrating that they perceive an uncommon, and therefore interesting, speech-like percept when looking at the incongruent mouth (repeated ANOVA: displays x fusion/mismatch conditions interaction: F(1,16) = 17.153, p = 0.001). The looking behaviour of high-risk infants did not differ according to the type of display, suggesting difficulties in matching auditory and visual information (repeated ANOVA, displays x conditions interaction: F(1,25) = 0.09, p = 0.767), in contrast to low-risk infants (repeated ANOVA: displays x conditions x low/high-risk groups interaction: F(1,41) = 4.466, p = 0.041). In some cases this reduced ability might lead to the poor communication skills characteristic of autism.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 29 May 2012 12:53
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4778

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