Visual, Auditory, and Cross Modal Sensory Processing in Adults with Autism: An EEG Power and BOLD fMRI Investigation


Electroencephalography (EEG) and blood oxygen level dependent functional magnetic resonance imagining (BOLD fMRI) assessed the neurocorrelates of sensory processing of visual and auditory stimuli in 11 adults with autism (ASD) and 10 neurotypical (NT) controls between the ages of 20–28. We hypothesized that ASD performance on combined audiovisual trials would be less accurate with observable decreased EEG power across frontal, temporal, and occipital channels and decreased BOLD fMRI activity in these same regions; reflecting deficits in key sensory processing areas. Analysis focused on EEG power, BOLD fMRI, and accuracy. Lower EEG beta power and lower left auditory cortex fMRI activity were seen in ASD compared to NT when they were presented with auditory stimuli as demonstrated by contrasting the activity from the second presentation of an auditory stimulus in an all auditory block vs. the second presentation of a visual stimulus in an all visual block (AA2-VV2).We conclude that in ASD, combined audiovisual processing is more similar than unimodal processing to NTs.


© 2016 Hames, Murphy, Rajmohan, Anderson, Baker, Zupancic, O’Boyle and Richman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


Autism, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Electroencephalogram (EEG), Cross-Modal Sensory Processing, Visual, Auditory


Hames EC, Murphy B, Rajmohan R, Anderson RC, Baker M, Zupancic S, O’Boyle M and Richman D (2016) Visual, Auditory, and Cross Modal Sensory Processing in Adults with Autism: An EEG Power and BOLD fMRI Investigation. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10:167. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00167