Divided attention capacity in adults with autism spectrum disorders and without intellectual disability

H Bogte, B Flamma, J.J. Van der Meere, H. van Engeland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Earlier research showed that divided attention, an aspect of executive function, is limited in both children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The current study explored divided attention capacity in adults with ASD and without intellectual disability (n = 36). Divided attention was tested using a computerized variant of a well-known memory recognition test, with two levels of cognitive load. The effect of cognitive load on reaction time performance is considered to be inversely proportional to divided attention capacity. The study failed to provide a relationship between divided attention and ASD, contrary to earlier research. Findings indicated that only the adults with ASD who used medication had a divided attention deficit, and that this group had specific difficulty reaching a binary decision in a memory search task. An additional finding was that the participants with ASD were overall slow. Possible causes and implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-243
Number of pages15
JournalAutism
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2009

Keywords

  • adults
  • ASD
  • executive function
  • prefrontal cortex
  • reaction time
  • HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM
  • EXECUTIVE FUNCTION
  • FRONTAL-CORTEX
  • REACTION-TIME
  • CHILDREN
  • PERCEPTION
  • MATURATION
  • SYSTEM
  • TASK
  • FMRI

Cite this