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Multisensory integration deficits in Schizophrenia and Autism evidenced in behaviour but not sensory related event related potentials
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  • Maida Toumaian,
  • Panagiotis Covanis,
  • Asimakis Mantas,
  • Thomas Karantinos,
  • Sergios Kayas,
  • Anna Kentikeleni,
  • Argiro Vatakis,
  • Christoph Klein,
  • Nikolaos Smyrnis
Maida Toumaian
University Mental Health Research Institute
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Panagiotis Covanis
University Mental Health Research Institute
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Asimakis Mantas
University Mental Health Research Institute
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Thomas Karantinos
University Mental Health Research Institute
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Sergios Kayas
. SKKA A LIFE PLAN Centre for Autistic Adolescents and Adults
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Anna Kentikeleni
. SKKA A LIFE PLAN Centre for Autistic Adolescents and Adults
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Argiro Vatakis
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences
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Christoph Klein
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Nikolaos Smyrnis
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

The process of integrating information from different sensory channels, known as multisensory integration (MSI) was assessed in two disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Schizophrenia (SCZ). 32 healthy controls (HC), 35 SCZ patients, and 23 ASD patients performed a synchronous target detection task using auditory (A), visual (V), and audiovisual (AV) stimuli, while reaction times (RT) and scalp recorded electrophysiological (EEG) activity were measured. MSI in the AV condition resulted in faster and less variable RTs compared to the unimodal conditions. Using a novel method to identify MSI gain in RT at the level of the individual subject, MSI gain was observed in 78% of HC, 26% of ASD, and 48% of SCZ patients. At the neural level, MSI in the AV condition resulted in larger amplitude of sensory evoked responses (N1 and P2 compared to the A condition, P1 and N2 compared to the V condition) and cognitive P3 response (compared to both unimodal conditions). These neural effects of MSI were not related to the behavioural MSI gain identified at the individual level. Furthermore, they could not explain the deficits in behavioural MSI of patient groups. In conclusion, a robust MSI gain deficit in RT was observed in both patient groups that was not reflected in early perceptual and cognitive electro-cortical responses, suggesting that behavioural MSI deficits in ASD and SCZ may arise at late processing stages such as response selection.