Audiovisual speech integration in pervasive developmental disorder: evidence from event-related potentials

Authors

  • Maurice J.C.M. Magnée,

    1. Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2. Laboratory of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
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  • Beatrice De Gelder,

    1. Laboratory of Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
    2. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA
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  • Herman Van Engeland,

    1. Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • Chantal Kemner

    1. Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    2. Section Biological Developmental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
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  • Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.

Maurice Magnée, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, B01.201, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands; Tel: + 31 88 755 6026; Fax: + 31 88 755 5444; Email: M.J.C.M.Magnee@umcutrecht.nl

Abstract

Background:  Integration of information from multiple sensory sources is an important prerequisite for successful social behavior, especially during face-to-face conversation. It has been suggested that communicative impairments among individuals with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) might be caused by an inability to integrate synchronously presented visual and auditory cues.

Method:  We investigated audiovisual integration of speech stimuli among a group of high-functioning adult PDD individuals and age- and IQ-matched controls using electroencephalography, measuring both early pre-phonological, as well as late phonologically driven integration.

Results:  Pre-phonological AV interactions are intact, while AV interactions corresponding to more complex phonological processes are impaired in individuals with PDD.

Conclusions:  The present findings argue for a pattern of impairments on tasks related to complex audiovisual integration combined with relative sparing of low-level integrational abilities. This combination may very well contribute to the communicative disabilities which are typical for the disorder.

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