Neural processing of biological motion in autism: An investigation of brain activity and effective connectivity
Swinnen, Stephan P.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
The superior temporal sulcus (STS) forms a key region for social information processing and disruptions of its function have been associated with socio-communicative impairments characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Task-based fMRI was applied in 15 adults with ASD and 15 matched typical-controls (TC) to explore differences in activity and effective connectivity of STS while discriminating either ‘intact’ versus ‘scrambled’ biological motion point light displays (explicit processing) or responding to a color-change while the ‘intact’ versus ‘scrambled’ nature of the stimulus was irrelevant for the task (implicit processing). STS responded stronger to ‘intact’ than ‘scrambled’ stimuli in both groups, indicating that the basic encoding of ‘biological’ versus ‘non-biological’ motion seems to be intact in ASD. Only in the TC-group however, explicit attention to the biological motion content induced an augmentation of STS-activity, which was not observed in the ASD-group. Overall, these findings suggest an inadequacy to recruit STS upon task demand in ASD, rather than a generalized alteration in STS neural processing. The importance of attention orienting for recruiting relevant neural resources was further underlined by the observation that connectivity between STS and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a key region in attention regulation, effectively modulated STS-recruitment in the ASD-group Show more
Journal / seriesScientific Reports
PublisherNature Publishing Group
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