Distractor Inhibition in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of a Selective Impairment for Individuals with Co-occurring Motor Difficulties

Ebony Lindor, Nicole Rinehart, Joanne Fielding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Although most researchers agree that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit atypical attention, there is little consensus on the exact nature of their deficits. We explored whether attentional control in ASD varies as a function of motor proficiency. Nineteen children with ASD and 26 typically-developing controls completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children and two ocular motor tasks requiring them to generate a saccade toward, and fixate, a visual target in the presence or absence of a distractor. The ASD group demonstrated poorer accuracy than typically-developing controls when distractors were present. Importantly, however, ASD symptomology was only related to poorer accuracy in individuals with motor difficulties. These findings suggest that distractor inhibition may be selectively impaired in this subgroup.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Autism
  • Distractor inhibition
  • Motor skills
  • Saccades

Cite this

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abstract = "Although most researchers agree that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit atypical attention, there is little consensus on the exact nature of their deficits. We explored whether attentional control in ASD varies as a function of motor proficiency. Nineteen children with ASD and 26 typically-developing controls completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children and two ocular motor tasks requiring them to generate a saccade toward, and fixate, a visual target in the presence or absence of a distractor. The ASD group demonstrated poorer accuracy than typically-developing controls when distractors were present. Importantly, however, ASD symptomology was only related to poorer accuracy in individuals with motor difficulties. These findings suggest that distractor inhibition may be selectively impaired in this subgroup.",
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