Publication Date

2010-07-21

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2010-07-08

First Committee Member

Heather Henderson - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Marygrace Yale Kaiser - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Michael Alessandri - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Messinger - Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Jeffrey Brosco - Outside Committee Member

Abstract

In this study, behavioral (post-error response time) and electrophysiological (ERN amplitude and latency) indices of error-monitoring were examined in individuals with autism and typical development. Participants were presented with a series of faces, and they were asked to quickly and accurately determine the gender or the affect of the faces. Younger participants showed post-error slowing for the Gender Task, while older participants showed post-error slowing for the Affect Task. With age, participants showed a greater differentiation between correct and incorrect responses on both ERN amplitude and ERN latency. For the Gender Task only, participants with typical development showed a greater differentiation between correct and incorrect responses than participants with autism on ERN amplitude. Evidence of more error monitoring on the Affect Task was associated with less autistic symptomology, fewer internalizing problems, and better social skills. Evidence of more error monitoring on the Gender Task was associated with greater autistic symptomology and fewer internalizing problems. Overall, age, regardless of diagnostic group, had a substantial effect on face processing and error monitoring abilities. Individuals with autism showed an ability to engage in error monitoring, with only mild impairments in error monitoring. The data suggest that error monitoring is not a core deficit of autism; however, individual differences in error monitoring may significantly moderate the expression of autism.

Keywords

Autistic Symptomology; Social Cognition; Internalizing Problems

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