[Social cognition in autism. A survey of functional imaging studies].
ABSTRACT Autism spectrum disorders (autism, Asperger's syndrome, high-functioning autism) are characterized by a common pattern of marked impairments in social interactions. Deficits have been described in face processing, facial emotion recognition, and social attribution ("theory of mind") or generally speaking in social cognition. Some studies have shown that these impairments are already detectable in early childhood, leading to the assumption that the underlying cause is an early disruption of neuronal development. Accordingly, neuroimaging data have revealed alterations of structure and function in the brains of autistic children, adolescents, and adults. The present review gives a systematic overview of the existing literature on functional imaging studies using experimental paradigms of social cognition, i.e. face discrimination, facial emotion recognition, and theory of mind in autistic disorders.
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ABSTRACT: Although most adults are considered to be experts in the identification of faces, fewer people specialize in the recognition of other objects, such as birds and dogs. In this research, the neurophysiological processes associated with expert bird and dog recognition were investigated using event-related potentials. An enhanced early negative component (N170, 164 ms) was found when bird and dog experts categorized objects in their domain of expertise relative to when they categorized objects outside their domain of expertise. This finding indicates that objects from well-learned categories are neurologically differentiated from objects from lesser-known categories at a relatively early stage of visual processing.Psychological Science 02/2001; 12(1):43-7. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study was designed to examine the developmental and cognitive correlates of theory of mind (ToM) and emotion recognition ability in children with autism (N = 20), with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) (N = 20), and in psychiatric control children (N = 20). The diagnostic groups were person-to-person matched on age and verbal IQ. The age of the children was between 8 and 18 years; their Full Scale IQ was at least 65. The test battery included tasks for the matching and the context recognition of emotional expressions, and a set of first- and second-order ToM tasks. The relationships between composite domain scores and the subjects' age, Verbal IQ, Performance IQ, verbal memory, visual memory, and gender were examined in bivariate and multivariate analyses. Further, the subjects who reliably and consistently passed the tasks of a domain and those who could not were compared on developmental and cognitive characteristics. Overall, the results of the various analyses converged and indicated that verbal memory, Performance IQ, age and gender were the best predictors of social cognitive ability.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10/1999; 40(6):869-81. · 5.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Disorders of the autistic spectrum are basically characterised by a triad of symptoms: dysfunction of social interaction, communication deficits, and stereotyped behaviour patterns and interests. One of the most prominent approaches to explaining these abnormalities is the "Theory of Mind" (Baron-Cohen et al., 1885). The present review discusses and critically examines the ongoing research and recapitulates the essential findings of the last ten years, focussing on their methodological quality and utility to explain other psychiatric disorders. Despite considerable research efforts in this field, the existing concepts do not constitute a consistent framework for analysing the development of autism spectrum disorders. Future research should aim to verify the impact of the existing theoretical models and to emphasise the similarities of the different concepts in order to gain specific information about potential causal factors of autism.Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie 05/2005; 33(2):77-88. · 0.99 Impact Factor