The influence of the past in visual perception in autism

Monday 30 October 2023, 2:30 pm
PhD student
E.A. Bosch MSc.
prof. dr. F.P. de Lange, prof. dr. J.K. Buitelaar

Autism is known for behavioural and social characteristics, as well as atypical sensory characteristics such as sensory sensitivity. There are theories that these sensory features are caused by sensory information being processed differently in autism. In typical perception, what we see is not only determined by the information coming in through our eyes now, but the past is also used to create a stable perceptual experience. This thesis focuses on whether in autism the influence of the past is less. To this end, we conducted a number of experiments demonstrating different ways in which the recent past influences perception. In follow-up experiments, we compared these influences between groups of autistic teenagers and non-autistic teenagers. However, we found no differences between these groups. These findings suggest that the use of the past in sensory processing is similar between autistic and non-autistic people. 

Ella Bosch was born in Haarlem in 1992. She completed her bachelor's degree in neuroscience, psychology and linguistics at University College Utrecht in 2013 and obtained her master's degree in Neuroscience & Cognition at Utrecht University in 2015. In 2016, she started her PhD track with Prof Floris de Lange in the Predictive Brain Lab at the Donders Centre of Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN) at Radboud University. During her time in Nijmegen, she was involved in several organisations, teams, and initiatives. For instance, she was involved in teaching and peer coaching, a member of the Donders Diversity & Sustainable Science Committee, and chair of the Halkes Women Faculty Network and the DCCN subcommittee. Since completing her PhD thesis, Ella has been employed as a strategic policy advisor at NWO, NWO's institutes organisation.