Eli Solomon

Eli Solomon

PI: David Charles, MD, Department of Neurology

Influence of Visual Feedback on Brain and Behavior Relationships: Implications for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Complexity of biological signals is often associated with healthy, adaptable systems. In healthy development, the availability of sensory feedback increases movement complexity, indicating that the integration of sensory information with ongoing movement permits flexibility and adaptability of movement. We hypothesize that this occurs through a mechanism whereby sensory feedback enhances neural complexity during movement, leading to complexity in motor output. Here, we examine whether movement complexity in a sensorimotor task relates to the neural complexity. Participants are instructed to move a computer mouse to follow an on-screen target. In some trials the target and cursor disappear, and the participant must attempt to continue the motion without visual feedback. EEG is measured concurrently with this task. Participants demonstrated increased motor complexity with feedback. We will present preliminary results on neural complexity and its relation to motor complexity. Our extant findings support the role of sensory feedback in the expression of complex motor behavior. If our hypotheses regarding the relation to neural complexity are supported, they will have potential applications for disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Individuals with ASD have lower neural and motor complexity, which potentially contribute to the characteristic symptoms of ASD. Conventional methods for measuring neural complexity may not be feasible in lower-functioning individuals. If our hypotheses are supported, motor complexity may serve as a proxy for neural complexity, permitting us to further explore the contributions of sensorimotor integration to neural complexity in participants across the autism spectrum and their relation to core symptoms.