Publication date: Jul 15, 2023
Previous studies have documented differences in processing multisensory information by children with autism compared to typically developing children. Furthermore, children with autism have been found to track fewer multiple objects on a screen than those without autism, suggesting reduced attentional control. In the present study, we investigated whether children with autism (n = 33) and children without autism (n = 33) were able to track four target objects moving amongst four indistinguishable distractor objects while sensory cues were presented. During tracking, we presented various types of cues – auditory, visual, or audio-visual or no cues while target objects bounced off the inner boundary of a centralized circle. We found that children with autism tracked fewer targets than children without autism. Furthermore, children without autism showed improved tracking performance in the presence of visual cues, whereas children with autism did not benefit from sensory cues. Whereas multiple object tracking performance improved with increasing age in children without autism, especially when using audio-visual cues, children with autism did not show age-related improvement in tracking. These results are in line with the hypothesis that attention and the ability to integrate sensory cues during tracking are reduced in children with autism. Our findings could contribute valuable insights for designing interventions that incorporate multisensory information.
|Children||multiple object tracking|