Underconnectivity of the superior temporal sulcus predicts emotion recognition deficits in autism
Woolley, Daniel G.
Martino, Adriana Di
Swinnen, Stephan P.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Neurodevelopmental disconnections have been assumed to cause behavioral alterations in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Here, we combined measurements of intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with task-based fMRI to explore whether altered activity and/or iFC of the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) mediates deficits in emotion recognition in ASD. Fifteen adults with ASD and 15 matched-controls underwent resting-state and task-based fMRI, during which participants discriminated emotional states from point light displays (PLDs). Intrinsic FC of the right pSTS was further examined using 584 (278 ASD/306 controls) resting-state data of the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE). Participants with ASD were less accurate than controls in recognizing emotional states from PLDs. Analyses revealed pronounced ASD-related reductions both in task-based activity and resting-state iFC of the right pSTS with fronto-parietal areas typically encompassing the action observation network (AON). Notably, pSTS-hypo-activity was related to pSTS-hypo-connectivity, and both measures were predictive of emotion recognition performance with each measure explaining a unique part of the variance. Analyses with the large independent ABIDE dataset replicated reductions in pSTS-iFC to fronto-parietal regions. These findings provide novel evidence that pSTS hypo-activity and hypo-connectivity with the fronto-parietal AON are linked to the social deficits characteristic of ASD. Show more
Journal / seriesSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Pages / Article No.
PublisherOxford University Press
SubjectAutism spectrum disorders; Superior temporal sulcus; functional connectivity; functional magnetic resonance imaging; Emotion recognition
Organisational unit03963 - Wenderoth, Nicole / Wenderoth, Nicole
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