Perceptual bias reveals slow-updating in autism and fast-forgetting in dyslexia

Individuals with autism and individuals with dyslexia both show reduced use of previous sensory information (stimuli statistics) in perceptual tasks, even though these are very different neurodevelopmental disorders. To better understand how past sensory information influences the perceptual experience in these disorders, we first investigated the trial-by-trial performance of neurotypical participants in a serial discrimination task. Neurotypical participants overweighted recent stimuli, revealing fast updating of internal sensory models, which is adaptive in changing environments. They also weighted the detailed stimuli distribution inferred by longer-term accumulation of stimuli statistics, which is adaptive in stable environments. Compared to neurotypical participants, individuals with dyslexia weighted earlier stimuli less heavily, whereas individuals with autism spectrum disorder weighted recent stimuli less heavily. Investigating the dynamics of perceptual inference reveals that individuals with dyslexia rely more on information about the immediate past, whereas perception in individuals with autism is dominated by longer-term statistics.

Itay Lieder, Vincent Adam, Or Frenkel, Sagi Jaffe-Dax, Maneesh Sahani & Merav Ahissar
Year of publication
Nature Neurosciencevolume 22, pages256–264