Research group: Auditory System, Sensorimotor control, and Multisensory Integration.
Dept. Biophysics.

prof. dr. John van Opstal, Donders Neurophysics Unit - Dept. Biophysics, HG00.830 Tel: 024-361 4251
prof. dr. Jan Buitelaar, Dept. Cognitive Neuroscience (UMCN) - Afdeling Psychiatrie

Brief description of the Project:

Research Question: Corollary discharge dysfunction, a cognitive marker for autism spectrum disorders?

Unambiguous neurobiological markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lacking. Here we test the "corollary discharge" (CD) hypothesis that ASD involves a neurobiological impairment that affects the ability to create an adequate image of your own behavior, as well as the capacity to derive meaningful interpretations from the environment which serves as a base for upcoming actions. Deficits in these basic mechanisms would lead to higher-order social and cognitive symptoms. In this project we will explore two important manifestations of these mechanisms that require the use of a CD signal, and are hypothesized to be affected in ASD. By recording head-unrestrained gaze saccades we develop simple diagnostic procedures to quantify the extent to which ASD patients (i) incorporate self-movements, (ii) extract relevant target information from noisy audiovisual environments, and (iii) are sensitive to audiovisual pop-out.

Aim: The study will lead to a publication in a peer-reviewed international scientific journal (e.g., the Journal of Neuroscience).
Proposed start: any time

Background knowledge:
Master CNSc: The obligatory courses of the Perception and Action program. The elective course on Auditory Perception.
Science (Natuurwetenschappen): Psychofysica 1, Neurofysica 1, (Neurobiofysica).
Medical Biology, Bewegingswetenschappen: Neurobiofysica; Hersenen en Gedrag: Sensorimotoriek
If you are interested in this project, please contact prof dr. John van Opstal (address, see above, and web page).
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