Do I Have Your Full Attention? Effects of Perceptual Load and Meaningful Stimuli on Selective Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Student, A. (2017) Do I Have Your Full Attention? Effects of Perceptual Load and Meaningful Stimuli on Selective Attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

Recent research on selective attention in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has shown individuals with ASD demonstrate an enhanced perceptual capacity. Furthermore, that this perceptual capacity is shared across sensory modalities (i.e. visual and auditory). The current definition of ASD states a deficiency in social and communication abilities, with recent research suggesting neurotypical (NT) individuals give a “special status” to socially meaningful stimuli in the visual domain. The present study examined whether increasing visual perceptual load has less of an effect on non-meaningful auditory awareness in adults with ASD, and whether it had less of an effect on meaningful auditory awareness in NT adults. Participants (NT = 59, ASD = 57) performed either a low or high load visual task. On a critical trial, an unexpected critical audio stimulus (CAS) was played concurrently with the visual stimulus. The unexpected audio stimulus was either socially non-meaningful (‘beep’) or meaningful (‘hi’). ASD participants noticed the non-meaningful CAS the same amount across perceptual loads and more than NT participants in the high load. In the meaningful CAS, both NT and ASD noticed it similarly high amounts across perceptual loads. These findings suggest an enhanced perceptual capacity in ASD, but that NT individuals require fewer resources to process socially meaningful stimuli.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BSc (Hons) Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, selective attention, inattentional deafness, perceptual load, socially meaningful stimulus
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:29
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 12:29
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2897

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