Audiovisual temporal processing in adult patients with first-episode schizophrenia and high-functioning autism


Zhou Han-yuORCID,Lai Iris Y. S.,Hung Karen S. Y.,Chan Mandy K. M.,Ho Zoe T. Y.,Lam Jenny P. H.,Lui Simon S. Y.ORCID,Chan Raymond C. K.ORCID


AbstractSchizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are both neurodevelopmental disorders with altered sensory processing. Widened temporal binding window (TBW) signifies reduced sensitivity to detect stimulus asynchrony, and may be a shared feature in schizophrenia and ASD. Few studies directly compared audiovisual temporal processing ability in the two disorders. We recruited 43 adult patients with first-episode schizophrenia (FES), 35 average intelligent and verbally-fluent adult patients with high-functioning ASD and 48 controls. We employed two unisensory Temporal Order Judgement (TOJ) tasks within visual or auditory modalities, and two audiovisual Simultaneity Judgement (SJ) tasks with flash-beeps and videos of syllable utterance as stimuli. Participants with FES exhibited widened TBW affecting both speech and non-speech processing, which were not attributable to altered unisensory sensory acuity because they had normal visual and auditory TOJ thresholds. However, adults with ASD exhibited intact unisensory and audiovisual temporal processing. Lower non-verbal IQ was correlated with larger TBW width across the three groups. Taking our findings with earlier evidence in chronic samples, widened TBW is associated with schizophrenia regardless illness stage. The altered audiovisual temporal processing in ASD may ameliorate after reaching adulthood.


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