Computerized EEG analyses of autistic children

J Autism Dev Disord. 1986 Jun;16(2):169-87. doi: 10.1007/BF01531728.


Electroencephalographic measures of the neurophysiological dysfunction underlying autism have been nonspecific and incomplete. Studies using electroencephalographic methods have been fraught with subject sampling bias, a lack of standardized techniques and measures, and a lack of appropriate control groups. Low-functioning autistic children with age-matched normals, age-matched mentally handicapped, and mentally age-matched normal toddlers were tested using a computerized electroencephalographic technique. The autistic children showed significantly more slow wave activity and less alpha, as well as less inter- and intrahemispheric asymmetry than either normal or mentally handicapped children. In general, electroencephalographic features of autistic children closely resembled those of the toddlers, supporting a model of maturational lag as the key descriptor for autistic CNS functioning. A model of diminished cortical differentiation is proposed to account for the low level of intellectual functioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology
  • Intelligence
  • Male