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Investigating the effects of neuromodulatory training on autistic traits: a multi-methods psychophysiological study.

Garcia Vite, Tania Karina (2020) Investigating the effects of neuromodulatory training on autistic traits: a multi-methods psychophysiological study. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by noticeable difficulties with social interaction and communication. Building on past research in this area and with the aim of improving methodological perspectives, a multi method approach to the study of ASD, mirror neurons and neurofeedback was taken. This thesis is made up of three main experiments: 1) A descriptive study of the resting state electroencephalography (EEG) across the spectrum of autistic traits in neurotypical individuals, 2) A comparison of 3 EEG protocols on MNs activation (mu suppression) and its difference according to self-reported traits of autism in neurotypical individuals, and 3) Neurofeedback training (NFT) on individuals with high autistic traits. In chapters 3 and 4 we employed simultaneous monitoring of physiological data. For chapter 3 EEG and eye-tracking was used, In the case of chapter 4, EEG and eye-tracking as well functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Overall the findings revealed differences in mu rhythm reactivity associated to AQ traits. In chapter 2, the rEEG showed that individuals with high AQ scores showed less activation of frontal and fronto-central regions combined with higher levels of complexity in fronto-temporal, temporal, parietal and parieto-occipital areas. In chapter 3, EEG protocols that elicited Mu reactivity in individuals with different AQ traits suggested that as the AQ traits become more pronounced in neurotypical population, the event-related desynchronization (ERD) in low alpha declines. Chapter 3 was also the basis for the choice of pre/post assessment for chapter 4. In chapter 4 the multi-method physiological approach provided parallel physiological evidence for the effects of NFT in sensorimotor reactivity, namely, an increase in ERD in high alpha, higher levels of oxygenated haemoglobin and changes to the amplitude and frequency in the microstructure of mu for participants who underwent active training as opposed to a sham group.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mu rhythm, Autistic traits, Neurofeedback, EEG
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Tania Garcia Vite
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2020 09:35
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2020 09:35
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28984

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