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The relationship between auditory processing and restricted, repetitive behaviors in adults with autism spectrum disorders

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Current views suggest that autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterised by enhanced low-level auditory discrimination abilities. Little is known, however, about whether enhanced abilities are universal in ASD and how they relate to symptomatology. We tested auditory discrimination for intensity, frequency and duration in 21 adults with ASD and 21 IQ and age-matched controls. Contrary to predictions, there were significant deficits in ASD on all acoustic parameters. The findings suggest that low-level auditory discrimination ability varies widely within ASD and this variability relates to IQ level, and influences the severity of restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs). We suggest that it is essential to further our understanding of the potential contributing role of sensory perception ability on the emergence of RRBs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-668
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
Early online date2 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • The relationship between auditory processing

    Rights statement: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in the Journal of Autism and Development Disorders. The final authenticated version is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 250 KB, PDF document

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