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  Autistic traits in synaesthesia: Atypical sensory sensitivity and enhanced perception of details

Van Leeuwen, T. M., Van Petersen, E., Burghoorn, F., Dingemanse, M., & Van Lier, R. (2019). Autistic traits in synaesthesia: Atypical sensory sensitivity and enhanced perception of details. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences. doi:10.1098/rstb.2019.0024.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-83D6-7 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-E2D5-C
Genre: Journal Article

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VanLeeuwen_etal_2019_Austistic traits in synaesthesia.pdf (Publisher version), 720KB
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VanLeeuwen_etal_2019_Austistic traits in synaesthesia.pdf
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 Creators:
Van Leeuwen, Tessa M.1, Author
Van Petersen, Eline1, Author
Burghoorn, Floor1, Author
Dingemanse, Mark1, 2, 3, 4, Author              
Van Lier, Rob1, Author
Affiliations:
1Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations, ou_55236              
2Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University, ou_persistent22              
3Language Development Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society, Wundtlaan 1, 6525 XD Nijmegen, NL, ou_2340691              
4Multimodal Language and Cognition, Radboud University Nijmegen, External Organizations, ou_3055480              

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 Abstract: In synaesthetes specific sensory stimuli (e.g., black letters) elicit additional experiences (e.g. colour). Synaesthesia is highly prevalent among individuals with autism spectrum disorder but the mechanisms of this co-occurrence are not clear. We hypothesized autism and synaesthesia share atypical sensory sensitivity and perception. We assessed autistic traits, sensory sensitivity, and visual perception in two synaesthete populations. In Study 1, synaesthetes (N=79, of different types) scored higher than non-synaesthetes (N=76) on the Attention-to-detail and Social skills subscales of the Autism Spectrum Quotient indexing autistic traits, and on the Glasgow Sensory Questionnaire indexing sensory hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity which frequently occur in autism. Synaesthetes performed two local/global visual tasks because individuals with autism typically show a bias toward detail processing. In synaesthetes, elevated motion coherence thresholds suggested reduced global motion perception and higher accuracy on an embedded figures task suggested enhanced local perception. In Study 2 sequence-space synaesthetes (N=18) completed the same tasks. Questionnaire and embedded figures results qualitatively resembled Study 1 results but no significant group differences with non-synaesthetes (N=20) were obtained. Unexpectedly, sequence-space synaesthetes had reduced motion coherence thresholds. Altogether, our studies suggest atypical sensory sensitivity and a bias towards detail processing are shared features of synaesthesia and autism spectrum disorder.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-01-012019-04-302019-10-21
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0024
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Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0962-8436
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/963017382021_1