Computational protocol: Visual Motion Prediction and Verbal False Memory Performance in Autistic Children

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Protocol publication

[…] We conducted an a priori power analysis using G*Power software [Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner, ] with an effect size of d = 0.65 based on Hillier et al.'s [] study of false memory performance in autistic and control populations, in the absence of prior data for the visual extrapolation tasks. Thirty participants in each group give 80% power with an alpha‐level of 0.05 in a one‐sided test. Accordingly, we recruited 30 typically developing (16 female) and 30 autistic children (25 female) aged 6–14 years with normal or above‐normal intellectual ability (IQ > 70) and normal‐ or corrected‐to‐normal visual acuity (assessed using a Snellen chart).The typically developing children had no history of neurodevelopmental disorders and scored below the autism cut‐off of 15 on the Social Communication Questionnaire [SCQ; Rutter, Bailey, and Lord, ]. The autistic children had an independent diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition, and met criteria for an autism spectrum condition in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule‐2 [ADOS‐2; Lord et al., ] and/or the SCQ (n.b. three and five children did not meet criteria on the SCQ and ADOS‐2, respectively). Intellectual ability was quantified using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence, 2nd edition [WASI‐2; Wechsler, ]. The groups of children did not differ significantly in age, t(58) = 1.21, P = 0.23, or performance IQ, t(58) = .48, P = 0.63. However, the autistic children had lower verbal IQ scores than the typically developing children, t(58) = 2.33, P = 0.02 (see Table for descriptive statistics). We did not aim to achieve gender‐matching in our sample, but considered this factor in our analyses. [...] Visual extrapolation tasks were presented on a Dell Inspiron 13 7000 laptop (1920 × 1080 pixels; 60Hz) using PsychoPy [Peirce, ], with stimuli presented on a black background. In the position extrapolation task, the stimulus was a small blue car (1.20° × 0.75°) moving along a grey track (length 20°). In the accumulation extrapolation task, the stimulus was a grey square (5° × 5°) that filled with yellow Gaussian‐edged circles (‘lights’) in a grid layout, with space for 25 ‘lights’ in total (Fig. ).The false memory task was presented verbally using word lists modified from a previous study of false memory in children [Metzger et al., ]. There were six lists of eight words that were semantically related to each other and to a critical lure that was not presented. The recognition test consisted of seven items: two items previously listed (“true”), two items distantly related to the listed items but not listed (“distant false”), two items unrelated to the previous list and not listed (“unrelated false”) and the critical “lure” item which was not listed but strongly semantically related to the list content (see Supporting Information). […]

Pipeline specifications

Software tools G*Power, PsychoPy
Applications Miscellaneous, Neuropsychology analysis
Organisms Homo sapiens