Auditory abnormalities in autism: Toward functional distinctions among findings

Gabriella R. Kellerman, Jin Fan, Jack M. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, findings on a wide range of auditory abnormalities among individuals with autism have been reported. To date, functional distinctions among these varied findings are poorly established. Such distinctions should be of interest to clinicians and researchers alike given their potential therapeutic and experimental applications. This review suggests three general trends among these findings as a starting point for future analyses. First, studies of auditory perception of linguistic and social auditory stimuli among individuals with autism generally have found impaired perception versus normal controls. Such findings may correlate with impaired language and communication skills and social isolation observed among individuals with autism. Second, studies of auditory perception of pitch and music among individuals with autism generally have found enhanced perception versus normal controls. These findings may correlate with the restrictive and highly focused behaviors observed among individuals with autism. Third, findings on the auditory perception of non-linguistic, non-musical stimuli among autism patients resist any generalized conclusions. Ultimately, as some researchers have already suggested, the distinction between impaired global processing and enhanced local processing may prove useful in making sense of apparently discordant findings on auditory abnormalities among individuals with autism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-756
Number of pages9
JournalCNS Spectrums
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

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