Resolution of impaired multisensory processing in autism and the cost of switching sensory modality

Michael J. Crosse, John J. Foxe, Katy Tarrit, Edward G. Freedman, Sophie Molholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibit alterations in multisensory processing, which may contribute to the prevalence of social and communicative deficits in this population. Resolution of multisensory deficits has been observed in teenagers with ASD for complex, social speech stimuli; however, whether this resolution extends to more basic multisensory processing deficits remains unclear. Here, in a cohort of 364 participants we show using simple, non-social audiovisual stimuli that deficits in multisensory processing observed in high-functioning children and teenagers with ASD are not evident in adults with the disorder. Computational modelling indicated that multisensory processing transitions from a default state of competition to one of facilitation, and that this transition is delayed in ASD. Further analysis revealed group differences in how sensory channels are weighted, and how this is impacted by preceding cross-sensory inputs. Our findings indicate that there is a complex and dynamic interplay among the sensory systems that differs considerably in individuals with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number601
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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