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Sensory processing in Autism Spectrum Conditions and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Department of Psychology

About the Project

Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are prevalent
neurodevelopmental conditions. Evidence suggests that both are characterised by differences in
sensory experience and sensory processing, and that there is a high level of co-occurrence between
the two conditions. This co-occurrence, coupled with differences in sensory processing in both cases,
raises the issue how distinct these disorders are – a critical question for diagnosis, treatment and
prognosis. The proposed project will investigate sensory processing in individuals with ADHD, ASD or
both, using a psychophysical approach and questionnaire measures. The project goal will be to
identify at what level in sensory processing complexity individuals with ASC and ADHD differ from
neurotypical individuals, whether these levels differ between the conditions, and if they do, how
fundamental differences in sensory processing engender higher level differences in sensory
experience. Determining areas of common and unique difference will give clues as to the shared and
distinct substrates underlying the conditions and help to answer the ultimate question of whether
ADHD and ASD can be considered to be two disorders or one.

Funding Notes

Self funded or sponsored students only

NB The University has some scholarships under competition - application deadline is 29 January 2020 at 5pm. More details can be found - View Website

Start dates are October and March yearly


Panagiotidi M, Overton PG, Stafford T. (2019) Co-occurrence of ASD and ADHD traits in an adult
population. Journal of Attention Disorders, 23, 1407-1415.
Panagiotidi M, Overton PG, Stafford T. (2018) The relationship between ADHD traits and sensory
sensitivity in the general population. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 80: 179-185.

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