Lateralized Response Timing Deficits in Autism

Anna Maria D'Cruz, Matthew W. Mosconi, Shelly Steele, Leah H. Rubin, Beatriz Luna, Nancy Minshew, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Procedural learning is an implicit process in which a behavioral response is refined through repeated performance. Neural systems supporting this cognitive process include specific frontostriatal systems responsible for the preparation and timing of planned motor responses. Evaluating performance on procedural learning tasks can provide unique information about neurodevelopmental disorders in which frontostriatal disturbances have been reported, such as autism. Methods: Fifty-two individuals with autism and 54 age-, IQ-, and gender-matched healthy individuals performed an oculomotor serial reaction time task and a sensorimotor control task. Results: Whereas the rate of procedural learning and the precision of planned motor responses were unimpaired in autism, a lateralized alteration in the ability to time predictive responses was observed. Rightward saccadic responses were speeded in individuals with autism relative to healthy control subjects. Conclusions: Speeded rightward predictive saccades suggest atypical functioning of left hemisphere striatal chronometric systems in autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • left hemisphere
  • predictive saccade
  • prefrontal cortex
  • procedural learning
  • striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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