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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS (1)
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BOOKHEIMER, SUSAN Y. (1)
Bookheimer, Susan Y. (1)
DAPRETTO, MIRELLA (1)
Dapretto, Mirella (1)
Davies, Mari S. (1)
Iacoboni, Marco (1)
Lauwereyns, Jan (1)
SCOTT, ASHLEY (1)
SIGMAN, MARIAN (1)
Scott, Ashley A. (1)
Uddin, Lucina Q. (1)
WANG, A. TING (1)
Zaidel, Eran (1)
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Frontal contributions to face processing differences in autism: Evidence from fMRI of inverted face processing
BOOKHEIMER, SUSAN Y.
WANG, A. TING
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS
Functional neuroimaging studies of face processing deficits in autism have typically focused on visual processing regions, such as the fusiform face area (FFA), which have shown reduced activity in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), though inconsistently. We recently reported reduced activity in the inferior frontal region in ASD, implicating impaired mirror-neuron systems during face processing. In the present study, we used fMRI during a face processing task in which subjects had to match faces presented in the upright versus inverted position. Typically developing (TD) children showed a classic behavioral inversion effect, increased reaction time for inverted faces, while this effect was significantly reduced in ASD subjects. The fMRI data showed similar responses in the fusiform face area for ASD and TD children, with both groups demonstrating increased activation for inverted faces. However, the groups did differ in several brain regions implicated in social cognition, particularly prefrontal cortex and amygdala. These data suggest that the behavioral differences in processing upright versus inverted faces for TD children are related not to visual information processing but to the social significance of the stimuli. Our results are consistent with other recent studies implicating frontal and limbic dysfunction during face processing in autism.
Functional MRI; Autism; Asperger’s; Face processing; Face inversion; Development
Neural Basis of Self and Other Representation in Autism: An fMRI Study of Self-Face Recognition
Uddin, Lucina Q.
Davies, Mari S.
Scott, Ashley A.
Bookheimer, Susan Y.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by decreased interest and engagement in social interactions and by enhanced self-focus. While previous theoretical approaches to understanding autism have emphasized social impairments and altered interpersonal interactions, there is a recent shift towards understanding the nature of the representation of the self in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Still, the neural mechanisms subserving self-representations in ASD are relatively unexplored.
We used event-related fMRI to investigate brain responsiveness to images of the subjects' own face and to faces of others. Children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children viewed randomly presented digital morphs between their own face and a gender-matched other face, and made “self/other” judgments. Both groups of children activated a right premotor/prefrontal system when identifying images containing a greater percentage of the self face. However, while TD children showed activation of this system during both self- and other-processing, children with ASD only recruited this system while viewing images containing mostly their own face.
This functional dissociation between the representation of self versus others points to a potential neural substrate for the characteristic self-focus and decreased social understanding exhibited by these individuals, and suggests that individuals with ASD lack the shared neural representations for self and others that TD children and adults possess and may use to understand others.
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