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29-12-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2021 Open Access

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 10/2021

Acquisition and Use of ‘Priors’ in Autism: Typical in Deciding Where to Look, Atypical in Deciding What Is There

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 10/2021
Auteurs:
Fredrik Allenmark, Zhuanghua Shi, Rasmus L. Pistorius, Laura A. Theisinger, Nikolaos Koutsouleris, Peter Falkai, Hermann J. Müller, Christine M. Falter-Wagner
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-020-04828-2.
Hermann J. Müller and Christine M. Falter-Wagner are sharing last authorship.

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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are thought to under-rely on prior knowledge in perceptual decision-making. This study examined whether this applies to decisions of attention allocation, of relevance for ‘predictive-coding’ accounts of ASD. In a visual search task, a salient but task-irrelevant distractor appeared with higher probability in one display half. Individuals with ASD learned to avoid ‘attentional capture’ by distractors in the probable region as effectively as control participants—indicating typical priors for deploying attention. However, capture by a ‘surprising’ distractor at an unlikely location led to greatly slowed identification of a subsequent target at that location—indicating that individuals with ASD attempt to control surprise (unexpected attentional capture) by over-regulating parameters in post-selective decision-making.

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