Electroencephalogram and heart rate regulation to familiar and unfamiliar people in children with autism spectrum disorders

Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Jocelyn Lebow, Elgiz Bal, Damon Lamb, Emily Harden, Alexis Kramer, John Denver, Olga Bazhenova, Stephen W. Porges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

Few studies have examined whether familiarity of partner affects social responses in children with autism. This study investigated heart rate regulation (respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]: The myelinated vagus nerve's regulation of heart rate) and temporal-parietal electroencephalogram (EEG) activity while nineteen 8- to 12-year-old children with autism and 14 controls viewed videos of a familiar and an unfamiliar person reading a story. Children with autism had lower overall RSA levels and exhibited decreased RSA to the unfamiliar person, versus control children. Both groups decreased temporal-parietal EEG activity to the unfamiliar person. Higher RSA was related to higher social skill ratings and fewer problem behaviors. Thus, the social difficulties of children with autism may be characterized by specific mobilization to unfamiliar people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1118-1133
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Van Hecke, A. V., Lebow, J., Bal, E., Lamb, D., Harden, E., Kramer, A., Denver, J., Bazhenova, O., & Porges, S. W. (2009). Electroencephalogram and heart rate regulation to familiar and unfamiliar people in children with autism spectrum disorders. Child development, 80(4), 1118-1133. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01320.x