Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
This exploratory study used electrophysiology to examine whether traits associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the typically developing population are related to early face processing. Previous literature has found mixed results about whether event-related potential (ERP) components appear differently in people with ASD, but two components that might be related to the observed deficit in face processing are the N170 component, which reflects the structural encoding of faces, and the N250 component, which reflects the individuation of faces. The present study analyzed data collected as part of the PURSUE EEG database. As part of the database, participants completed the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), which is a screening tool that quantifies the level of traits associated with ASD that are present in the individual. Participants had a variety of AQ scores, but none had a prior diagnosis of ASD. The ERP components were assessed by analyzing the participants’ electrophysiological data that was recorded while they completed an object/texture differentiation task. Results showed no significant correlations between AQ score and the mean amplitude of either component. There were also no differences between the mean amplitude of either component in high- vs low-AQ groups. These findings partially align with prior research, but more studies are necessary to understand the relationship between traits of ASD, face recognition, and face processing.
Murdock, Anna, "Do traits of autism spectrum disorder in the typically developing population relate to early face processing as measured by the N170 and N250 neural signals?" (2023). Honors Theses. 1688.
Available for download on Thursday, June 25, 2026