Individuals with Autism appear to process visual motion in ways that are different from those of typically developing people. This project examines three different networks (mu, beta, gamma) of brain activity that respond when people view scenes involving motion. We measure these network activities by recording electroencephalographic (EEG) responses to motion, and analyze their temporal, spectral, and spatial properties. In this proposal, we comprehensively characterize the brain response of fifty typically developing adults while they view and execute simple hand motions. The viewing of biological motion generates larger brain responses that non-biological motion, and there is evidence of altered brain response to biological motion in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Results across studies have however been inconsistent. Likely causes of these inconsistencies are methodological differences in studies, and the heterogeneity of ASD. In this project we compare the brain response of fifty adults with ASD to age and IQ matched control participants while they view and execute the same simple hand motions. We will comprehensively assess the phenotypical behaviors characterizing the fifty individuals with autism, and correlate them with the brain network measurements. Based on previous literature, we expect to associate individuals with autism with atypical responses in one of the three brain networks. The novelty of this project is the comprehensive association of ASD phenotypes with two additional brain networks, which have not been previously studied in ASD populations. By examining a comprehensive network of brain networks associated with motion processing, we seek to establish phenotypical characteristics of individuals who exhibit specific atypical brain responses to biological motion. A goal of this research program is to identify biological markers for early diagnosis of ASD. To that end we propose to test thirty five year old children (half with ASD), and compare their brain responses to the same viewing and execution of simple hand motions. This will guide our understanding of the development of brain responses to motion, and assess their utility in the early diagnosis and treatment of ASD.

Public Health Relevance

Individuals with autism process visual motion in unique ways. This project examines three different networks of brain activity that are activated when people view scenes showing motion. This project compares neural activity in these networks between typically developing adults and adults with autism, and examines the development of these networks with age.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section (CPDD)
Program Officer
Gilotty, Lisa
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Darvas, Felix; Mehi?, Edin; Caler, Connor J et al. (2016) Toward Deep Brain Monitoring with Superficial EEG Sensors Plus Neuromodulatory Focused Ultrasound. Ultrasound Med Biol 42:1834-47
Darvas, Felix; Rao, Rajesh P N; Murias, Micheal (2013) Localized high gamma motor oscillations respond to perceived biologic motion. J Clin Neurophysiol 30:299-307