The impact of auditory distractors on visual search performance in individuals with autism spectrum disorder
thesisposted on 04.08.2021, 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.