Identification of neurophysiological mechanisms correlates of ASD

The objective of neurophysiologists, neuroscientists and clinicians of the Autism group is to understand how sensory information coming from the environment is processed, perceived and used in ASD. Three sensory modalities are studied at the moment – vision, audition and touch – varying along three axes: 1) stimuli complexity; 2) social aspect of the stimulation; 3) complexity of the cognitive mechanisms involved.

Several methods are used to study neuronal mechanisms from children to adults. Electroencephalography (EEG), thanks to multiple electrodes distributed on the head of the subject, helps characterize the electric response of the brain (see picture). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows localizing the cerebral regions involved in information processing and studying perception and cognition mechanisms. Eye-tracking helps studying the strategies involved in environment exploration. Lastly, autonomous nervous system measurements (pupil diameter, heart rate, electrodermal activity) evaluate the physiological mobilization in response to a stimulation.


Project Perception of change

This EEG project has shown, amongst several results, that the brain of ASD individuals exhibited a different response to a change of sound than the brain of typically developed individuals.


Project Vision and social information processing

Thanks to several techniques (EEG, eye tracking), perturbations within face exploration and face processing have been evidenced in children and adults with ASD, possibly related to atypical ocular movements. Moreover, an atypical pupil reactivity has been shown in response to social stimuli.


Project Audition and human voice perception

This project aims at studying neurophysiological mechanisms involved in individual voice perception. The proposes strategy relies on a comparison between behavioral and cerebral responses to vocal (with or without language) and non-vocal stimulations and on the development of individual analyses in order to explore intra-individual variability in ASD.

Project Peripersonal space and social interactions

In this project we study the tactile modality, which is often very disturbed in severe ASD, thanks to the measure of autonomous nervous systems parameters. We compare two tactile nervous pathways: the discriminative touch pathway and the affective touch pathway. This is a first step in the study of social interactions.


Recent publications:

Bonnet-Brilhault F, Malvy J, Tuller L, Prévost P, Zebib R, Ferré S, Dos Santos C, Roux S, Houy-Durand E, Magné R, Mofid Y, Latinus M, Wardak C, Aguillon-Hernandez N, Batty M, Gomot M. (2018). A strategic plan to identify key neurophysiological mechanisms and brain circuits in autism. J Chem Neuroanat. 89:69-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2017.11.007.

Charpentier J, Kovarski K, Roux S, Houy-Durand E, Saby A, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Latinus M, Gomot M. (2018). Brain mechanisms involved in angry prosody change detection in school-age children and adults, revealed by electrophysiology. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. doi: 10.3758/s13415-018-0602-8.

Kovarski K, Siwiaszczyk M, Malvy J, Batty M, Latinus M. (2018). Faster eye movements in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Research.

Bidet-Caulet A, Latinus M, Roux S, Malvy J, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Bruneau N. (2017). Atypical sound discrimination in children with ASD as indicated by cortical ERPs. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 9(1):13.

Kovarski K, Latinus M, Charpentier J, Cléry H, Roux S, Houy-Durand E, Saby A, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Batty M, Gomot M. (2017). Facial Expression Related vMMN: Disentangling Emotional from Neutral Change Detection. Front Hum Neurosci. 11:18. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00018.