Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Natalie Russo

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are two of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental conditions that also exhibit a high rate of co-occurrence. This co-occurrence leads to decreased efficacy of interventions and increased levels of impairments. This suggests that it might be relevant to examine the impact of ADHD symptoms on ASD research findings. Given that both these disorders have neurodevelopmental origins that share differences in sensory processing, the study of sensory neurophysiology might be a relevant avenue to explore. Neurophysiology has focused on pre-attentive auditory processing in both conditions compared to the neurotypical population by focusing on a particular ERP component called the Mismatch Negativity. The mismatch negativity is a pre-attentive ERP component in response to an unexpected event. While both groups exhibit attenuated amplitudes in the MMN, no research has examined the impact of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms on the amplitude of the MMN in autistic youth, a step taken here. Participants in this study consisted of 13 autistic and 13 typically developing children and adolescents matched by age and IQ. Participants completed a passive pure tone oddball task to elicit the MMN. Data analysis assessed MMN amplitude and t-scores for the Attention Problems and Hyperactivity indices of the BASC-2 across groups. Additionally, separate Spearman’s ranked correlations were conducted between the BASC-2 indices and MMN amplitude for both groups and all participants together. Findings indicated moderate negative correlations between index t-scores and MMN amplitude when participants were not separated into ASD and TD groups. These findings may shed light on how attentional concerns and hyperactivity symptomology severity relate to pre-attentive sensory focused auditory processes in children and adolescents even in the absence of official diagnoses. This is important because it may provide new avenues for research to examine how co-occurring neurodevelopmental conditions may affect how one experiences the world and takes in new information.


Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons



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