The Effects of Face Expertise Training on the Behavioral Performance and Brain Activity of Adults with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 04/2011; 42(2):278-93. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1243-8
Source: PubMed


The effect of expertise training with faces was studied in adults with ASD who showed initial impairment in face recognition. Participants were randomly assigned to a computerized training program involving either faces or houses. Pre- and post-testing included standardized and experimental measures of behavior and event-related brain potentials (ERPs), as well as interviews after training. After training, all participants met behavioral criteria for expertise with the specific stimuli on which they received training. Scores on standardized measures improved after training for both groups, but only the face training group showed an increased face inversion effect behaviorally and electrophysiological changes to faces in the P100 component. These findings suggest that individuals with ASD can gain expertise in face processing through training.

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Available from: Sara Jane Webb, Oct 13, 2015
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    • "Regardless, the present study, in addition to Dawson et al. (2012) and several others (Bolte et al. 2006; Faja et al. 2012; Russo et al. 2010), provides mounting evidence that neural activity in ASD is responsive to social-behavioral intervention across the lifespan. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined whether the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS: Social skills for teenagers with developmental and autism spectrum disorders: The PEERS treatment manual, Routledge, New York, 2010a) affected neural function, via EEG asymmetry, in a randomized controlled trial of adolescents with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and a group of typically developing adolescents. Adolescents with ASD in PEERS shifted from right-hemisphere gamma-band EEG asymmetry before PEERS to left-hemisphere EEG asymmetry after PEERS, versus a waitlist ASD group. Left-hemisphere EEG asymmetry was associated with more social contacts and knowledge, and fewer symptoms of autism. Adolescents with ASD in PEERS no longer differed from typically developing adolescents in left-dominant EEG asymmetry at post-test. These findings are discussed via the Modifier Model of Autism (Mundy et al. in Res Pract Persons Severe Disabl 32(2):124, 2007), with emphasis on remediating isolation/withdrawal in ASD.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 06/2013; 45(2). DOI:10.1007/s10803-013-1883-y · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    • "Instead of verbal names, patterns (such as wavy lines in this example) were used to refer to identities of faces. From Faja et al. (2012). With permission from journal of autism and developmental disorders published by Springer (Domain 1), recognition of facial identity and emotion (Domain 2), and understanding faces in a social context (Domain 3) (Fig. 5). "
    The Comprehensive Guide to Autism, 01/2013; Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
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    • "Most notably, both behavioral91,92 and electrophysiological93,95 measures suggest that such information processing is slowed. Promisingly, recent computer-based intervention modules have begun to demonstrate that it is possible to modify the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of emotion processing (primarily facial emotion recognition) in individuals with ASD as evinced in both behavioral96 and electrophysiological97 outcomes. However, only preliminary work has examined biomarkers of change or outcomes in ”real-world“ social behavior, and no studies have adjunctively included these modules in existing CBT- or SST-based psychosocial interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research into psychosocial interventions (particularly cognitive-behavior therapies and social skills training) for social-communication deficits among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has proliferated over the past decade. While this research has provided some empirical support for the efficacy of these interventions, little work has begun to elucidate therapeutic mechanisms-the when, why, how, for whom, and under what conditions an intervention may produce change, identification of mechanisms underlying these effects should help advance ASD intervention research. This article describes methods for assessing such mechanisms (ie, mediators and moderators) and presents promising candidates for common mechanisms impacting treatment response: behavior modification, therapeutic relationship, social knowledge, social motivation, social information processing, executive functioning, and internalizing comorbidities. Finally, future directions are discussed as a program of psychosocial intervention research designed to identify predictors of individual differences in treatment response (including biomarkers), isolate active therapeutic ingredients, and promote dissemination of optimized interventions.
    09/2012; 14(3):307-18.
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