Functional Brain Correlates of Social and Nonsocial Processes in Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Activation Likelihood Estimation Meta-Analysis

Phyllis Green and Randolph Cowen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience at the New York University (NYU) Child Study Center, New York, New York 10016, USA.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 11/2008; 65(1):63-74. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.09.022
Source: PubMed


Functional neuroimaging studies of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have examined social and nonsocial paradigms, although rarely in the same study. Here, we provide an objective, unbiased survey of functional brain abnormalities in ASD, related to both social and nonsocial processing.
We conducted two separate voxel-wise activation likelihood estimation meta-analyses of 39 functional neuroimaging studies consisting of 24 studies examining social processes (e.g., theory of mind, face perception) and 15 studies examining nonsocial processes (e.g., attention control, working memory). Voxel-wise significance threshold was p<.05, corrected by false discovery rate.
Compared with neurotypical control (NC) subjects, ASD showed greater likelihood of hypoactivation in two medial wall regions: perigenual anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in social tasks only and dorsal ACC in nonsocial studies. Further, right anterior insula, recently linked to social cognition, was more likely to be hypoactivated in ASD in the analyses of social studies. In nonsocial studies, group comparisons showed greater likelihood of activation for the ASD group in the rostral ACC region that is typically suppressed during attentionally demanding tasks.
Despite substantial heterogeneity of tasks, the rapidly increasing functional imaging literature showed ASD-related patterns of hypofunction and aberrant activation that depended on the specific cognitive domain, i.e., social versus nonsocial. These results provide a basis for targeted extensions of these findings with younger subjects and a range of paradigms, including analyses of default mode network regulation in ASD.

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    • "It is reported that amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) patients had greater decreases in low frequency oscillation amplitude in the PCC/precuneus and parahippocampal gyrus in Slow-5 band than in Slow-4 band (Han et al., 2011), and patients with schizophrenia had widespread abnormalities of low frequency oscillation amplitudes in the Slow-4 frequency band (Hoptman et al., 2010). Another study indicated greater diagnostic information for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in the Slow-4 band rather than other bands (Di Martino et al., 2009). In our study, we showed that the FC-connections which have the most potential to discriminate ASD from HCs are concentrated in the Slow-4 frequency band (Fig. 3A). "
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    ABSTRACT: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging studies examining low frequency fluctuations (0.01-0.08Hz) have revealed atypical whole brain functional connectivity patterns in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and these atypical patterns can be used to discriminate individuals with ASD from controls. However, at present it is unknown whether functional connectivity at specific frequency bands can be used to discriminate individuals with ASD from controls, and whether relationships with symptom severity are stronger in specific frequency bands. We selected 240 adolescent subjects (12-18 years old, 112 with autism spectrum disorder (101/11, males/females) and 128 healthy controls (104/24, males/females)) from 6 separate international sites in the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange database. Whole brain functional connectivity networks were constructed in the Slow-5 (0.01-0.027Hz) and Slow-4 (0.027-0.073Hz) frequency bands, which were then used as classification features. An accuracy of 79.17% (p<0.001) was obtained using support vector machine. Most of the discriminative features were concentrated on the Slow-4 band. In the Slow-4 band, atypical connections between the default mode network, fronto-parietal network and cingulo-opercular network were detected. A significant correlation was found between social and communication deficits as measured by the ADOS in individuals with ASD and the classification scores based on connectivity between the default mode network and the cingulo-opercular network. Connections of the thalamus were of the highest classification weight in the Slow-4 band. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for frequency-specific whole brain functional connectivity indices that may eventually be used to aid detection of ASD. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 07/2015; 64. DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2015.06.014 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, in autism literature, the distinction between social and non-social stimuli is clearly articulated and the difference between individuals with autism and neurotypical participants emerges in their differential responses to social and non-social stimuli. Social stimuli show processing advantages compared to non-social stimuli in healthy individuals, but in individuals with autism, such advantages are abolished and there may even be a processing benefit for non-social stimuli (e.g., Dawson et al., 1998; Sasson et al., 2008; South et al., 2008; Di Martino et al., 2009; Baranek et al., 2013). In the present manuscript, we focus on the effects of the social nature of stimuli on emotion experience, and whether social and non-social stimuli evoke different emotional experiences in SZ versus control participants. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adaptive emotional responses are important in interpersonal relationships. We investigated self-reported emotional experience, physiological reactivity, and micro-facial expressivity in relation to the social nature of stimuli in individuals with schizophrenia (SZ). Galvanic skin response (GSR) and facial electromyography (fEMG) were recorded in medicated outpatients with SZ and demographically matched healthy controls (CO) while they viewed social and non-social images from the International Affective Pictures System. Participants rated the valence and arousal, and selected a label for experienced emotions. Symptom severity in the SZ and psychometric schizotypy in CO were assessed. The two groups did not differ in their labeling of the emotions evoked by the stimuli, but individuals with SZ were more positive in their valence ratings. Although self-reported arousal was similar in both groups, mean GSR was greater in SZ, suggesting differential awareness, or calibration of internal states. Both groups reported social images to be more arousing than non-social images but their physiological responses to non-social vs. social images were different. Self-reported arousal to neutral social images was correlated with positive symptoms in SZ. Negative symptoms in SZ and disorganized schizotypy in CO were associated with reduced mean fEMG. Greater corrugator mean fEMG activity for positive images in SZ indicates valence-incongruent facial expressions. The patterns of emotional responses differed between the two groups. While both groups were in broad agreement in self-reported arousal and emotion labels, their mean GSR, and fEMG correlates of emotion diverged in relation to the social nature of the stimuli and clinical measures. Importantly, these results suggest disrupted self awareness of internal states in SZ and underscore the complexities of emotion processing in health and disease.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00320 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "ests that children and adolescents with ASD may require more widespread use of executive functions for social abilities relative to the typical population . Neuroimaging studies also provide evidence for differ - ent neural activation patterns underlying executive functioning and social processing between ASD and typically developing children ( Di Martino et al . , 2009 ; for a review ; Just , Cherkassky , Keller , Kana , & Minshew , 2007 ) . Findings may also reflect the possi - bility that extensive use of executive functioning in typically developing children is not necessary for successful social interactions , which can be managed efficiently using a more focused and refined use of executive proce"
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    ABSTRACT: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by socio-communicative impairments. Executive dysfunction may explain some key characteristics of ASD, both social and nonsocial hallmarks. Limited research exists exploring the relations between executive function and social impairment in ASD and few studies have used a comparison control group. Thus, the objective of the present study was to investigate the relations between executive functioning using the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning (BRIEF), social impairment as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), and overall autistic symptomology as measured by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) in children and adolescents with and without ASD. Seventy children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD and 71 typically developing controls were included in this study. Findings showed that behavioral regulation executive processes (i.e., inhibition, shifting, and emotional control) predicted social function in all children. However, metacognitive executive processes (i.e., initiation, working memory, planning, organization, and monitoring) predicted social function only in children with ASD and not in typically developing children. Our findings suggest a distinct metacognitive executive function-social symptom link in ASD that is not present in the typical population. Understanding components of executive functioning that contribute to the autistic symptomology, particularly in the socio-communicative domain, is crucial for developing effective interventions that target key executive processes as well as underlying behavioral symptoms.
    Child Neuropsychology 03/2015; DOI:10.1080/09297049.2015.1005066 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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