6: Autism & Psychophysiology

Project 6: The relationship between autism symptoms and psychophysiological functioning

Participants: We are currently not looking for adults with an autism diagnosis (autism, Asperger, PDD-NOS, ASD) as we finished collecting data for this study.

Short rationale: There are many individual differences between people with autism, which makes it a challenge to find the right treatment for the right person. For instance, some people with autism have inhibitory control difficulties, while others do not. Some people with autism have auditory sensitivities, while others might have tactile sensitivities. We also know that some, not all, people with autism have high arousal levels in a rest state and physiologically respond atypically to certain stimuli. This suggests that certain physical systems are in a sort of “stressmode” , even when the person is not doing anything stressful. However, this could also imply that these physiological systems respond too much or too little to incoming stimuli, which can have an effect on behavior and perception. This current project is in collaboration with the Dr. Leo Kannerhuis, which is a specialized centre for people with autisme. The goal is to increase our insight into these individual differences in relation to the functioning of certain physiological systems, which in time might provide predictors for who benefits from which treatment. We study this relationship with regard to inhibitory control, social skills and sensory sensitivity in adults with autism by, for instance, studying physiological responses to auditory stimuli.

d’Arc members: Marieke Kuiper & Hilde Geurts
Funding: Leo Kannerhuis