Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Natalie Russo

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Autism is a heterogenous neurodevelopmental diagnosis associated with deficits in social communication and the presence of repetitive behaviors and sensory differences. While diagnostic criteria are behavioral, these behaviors are thought to arise from atypicalities in the brain. While many studies investigating autism have focused on understanding the neural processes underlying task performance, few have focused on understanding the brain at rest. This is critical, however, as the state of the brain before a stimulus is presented (i.e. its resting state) impacts how it responds to incoming information. Frontal alpha asymmetry, the comparison between alpha frequency power in the left and right frontal lobes, is one measure for assessing the resting-state of the brain. While several studies have investigated the relationship between frontal alpha asymmetry and autistic traits in those with an autism diagnosis, little research has examined the relationship between frontal alpha asymmetry and autistic traits regardless of diagnostic status. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between resting-state frontal alpha asymmetry and sensory seeking behaviors, social skills, attention to detail, and visual analytic skills among neurotypically developing and autistic children and adolescents. Results demonstrated no significant correlations between frontal alpha asymmetry and these autism characteristics. Bayesian analysis also failed to provide sufficient support in favor of either the null or alternative hypothesis when comparing the strength of these correlations between groups. Given the inconclusive nature of these results, future directions for this study, as well as the field of frontal alpha asymmetry EEG research, are discussed.


Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons



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