High-density electroencephalography (EEG) was used to examine the utility of the P1 event-related potential (ERP) as a marker of visual motion sensitivity to luminance defined low-spatial frequency drifting gratings in 16 children with autism and 16 neurotypical children. Children with autism displayed enhanced sensitivity to large, high-contrast low-spatial frequency stimuli as indexed by significantly shorter P1 response latencies to large vs. small gratings. The current study also found that children with autism had larger amplitude responses to large gratings irrespective of contrast. A linear regression established that P1 adaptive mean amplitude for large, high-contrast sinusoidal gratings significantly predicted hyperresponsiveness item mean scores on the Sensory Experiences Questionnaire for children with autism, but not for neurotypical children. We conclude that children with autism have differences in the mechanisms that underlie low-level visual processing potentially related to altered visual spatial suppression or contrast gain control.
Shuffrey, L. C., Levinson, L., Becerra, A., Pak, G., Sepulveda, D. M., Montgomery, A. K., … Froud, K. (2018). Visually evoked response differences to contrast and motion in children with autism spectrum disorder. Brain Sciences, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8090160