Purdue University Graduate School
Final C_Mallory MS Thesis 2021.2.5.pdf (657.38 kB)

The impact of auditory distractors on visual search performance in individuals with autism spectrum disorder

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posted on 2021-08-04, 15:33 authored by Courtney Lynn MalloryCourtney Lynn Mallory
Enrollment in post-secondary education for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing; however, students with ASD are less likely to complete a degree than students with other disabilities. Classroom performance requires attending to course-related information while filtering distractions. These attentional functions are critical for academic achievement. However, ASD is associated with pervasive impairments in attentional filtering. The present study used visual search, a task in which individuals with ASD excel, to investigate filtering of irrelevant social and non-social auditory information in college students with and without ASD. Results of the present study suggest a filtering deficit for individuals with ASD and indicate that this filtering impairment is present for both social and non-social information. Importantly, these deficits are present on a task in which individuals with ASD excel. Our findings suggest that irrelevant social and non-social sounds may adversely affect performance in college-aged students with high-functioning ASD and highlight the importance of minimizing competing background noise for these students.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Brandon Keehn

Additional Committee Member 2

Chenell Loudermill

Additional Committee Member 3

Alexander Francis

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