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Autonomic versus perceptual accounts for tactile hypersensitivity in autism spectrum disorder.

Autonomic versus perceptual accounts for tactile hypersensitivity in autism spectrum disorder.
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Fukuyama H, Kumagaya SI, Asada K, Ayaya S, Kato M,


Fukuyama H, Kumagaya SI, Asada K, Ayaya S, Kato M, (click to view)

Fukuyama H, Kumagaya SI, Asada K, Ayaya S, Kato M,

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Scientific reports 2017 08 157(1) 8259 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-08730-3
Abstract

Tactile atypicality in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has harmful effects on their everyday lives including social interactions. However, whether tactile atypicality in ASD reflects perceptual and/or autonomic processes is unknown. Here, we show that adults with ASD have hypersensitivity to tactile stimuli in the autonomic but not perceptual domain. In particular, adults with ASD showed a greater skin conductance response (SCR) to tactile stimuli compared to typically developing (TD) adults, despite an absence of differences in subjective responses. Furthermore, the level of the SCR was correlated with sensory sensitivity in daily living. By contrast, in perceptual discriminative tasks that psychophysically measured thresholds to tactile stimuli, no differences were found between the ASD and TD groups. These results favor the hypothesis that atypical autonomic processing underlies tactile hypersensitivity in ASD.

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