Increased peak gamma frequency in individuals with higher levels of autistic traits.

The European journal of neuroscience

PubMedID: 25858292

Dickinson A, Bruyns-Haylett M, Jones M, Milne E. Increased peak gamma frequency in individuals with higher levels of autistic traits. Eur J Neurosci. 2015;41(8):1095-101.
Individual differences in orientation discrimination threshold are related to both visually-induced peak gamma frequency and the presence of autistic traits. The relationship between peak gamma frequency and orientation discrimination thresholds may be due to both of these factors being mediated by levels of neural inhibition. No study has previously measured the relationship between peak gamma frequency and levels of autistic traits. Thus, this was the aim of the present study. We measured orientation discrimination thresholds and autistic traits in a neurotypical human sample (N = 33), and separately recorded electroencephalography to measure visually induced gamma activity. In line with our prediction, we found a significant relationship between peak gamma frequency and level of autistic traits. Consistent with previous work we also found significant relationships between orientation discrimination thresholds and level of autistic traits and between orientation discrimination thresholds and peak gamma frequency. Our results demonstrate that individuals with individuals with higher levels of autistic personality traits have a higher peak-gamma frequency and are better at discriminating between visual stimuli based on orientation. As both higher peak gamma frequency and lower orientation discrimination thresholds have been linked to higher levels of neural inhibition, this suggests that autistic traits co-occur with increased neural inhibition. This discovery is significant as it challenges the currently-held view that autism spectrum conditions are associated with increased neural excitation.