Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Russo, Natalie


autism, mismatch negativity, speech auditory brainstem response

Subject Categories

Life Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Autistic individuals often report atypical sensory processing, particularly in the auditory domain. However, the neural mechanisms that produce such symptoms are poorly understood. The Speech Auditory Brainstem Response (speech-ABR) and the Mismatch Negativity (MMN) are neurophysiological measures that capture different levels of auditory processing, such that the speech-ABR reflects processing at the subcortical level and the MMN measures cortical processing. The present study integrated both techniques in a multimethod approach, which spans both subcortical and cortical processing of speech sounds in a group of autistic children (n = 11) matched on chronological age and non-verbal IQ to their typically developing (TD) peers (n = 11). Results suggest that both groups are similar in their speed of speech processing, as measured via the interpeak V-O latency of the speech-ABR and the MMN latency. Additionally, while the subcortical auditory processing did not predict cortical auditory processing, an interesting pattern of preliminary group differences emerged. These findings, which require replication in a larger sample, suggest that there may be important nuances in auditory processing among autistic youth that are enriched by employing a multimethod design and highlight the importance of a developmental framework in research with individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Open Access



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