Delayed cortical processing of auditory stimuli in children with autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis of electrophysiological studies

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Abstract

Several researchers have hypothesised that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show encoding delays in their obligatory event-related potentials (ERPs)/ event-related fields (ERFs) for low-level auditory information compared to neurotypical (NT) samples. However, empirical research has yielded varied findings, such as low-level auditory processing in ASD samples being unimpaired, superior, or impaired compared to NT samples. Diverse outcomes have also been reported for studies investigating ASD-NT differences in functional lateralisation of delays. The lack of consistency across studies has prevented a comprehensive understanding of the overall effects in the autistic population. Therefore, this meta-analysis compared long-latency ERPs and ERFs produced by autistic and NT individuals to non-linguistic auditory stimuli to test, firstly, the robustness of auditory processing differences and, secondly, whether these differences are observed in one or both hemispheres. Nine articles meeting the inclusion criteria were included in the meta-analysis. Meta-analytic results indicated that autistic individuals demonstrate bilaterally delayed P1/ M50 peaks and lateralised delays in the right but not left hemisphere N1/ M100 peak. These results further inform our understanding of auditory processing and lateralisation across the autism spectrum.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105709
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume150
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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