Autism is characterized by dorsal anterior cingulate hyperactivation during social target detection.

Published

Journal Article

Though the functional neural correlates of impaired cognitive control and social dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been delineated, brain regions implicated in poor cognitive control of social information is a novel area of autism research. We recently reported in a non-clinical sample that detection of 'social oddball' targets activated a portion of the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus and the supracalcarine cortex (Dichter, Felder, Bodfish, Sikich, and Belger, 2009). In the present investigation, we report functional magnetic resonance imaging results from individuals with ASD who completed the same social oddball task. Between-group comparisons revealed generally greater activation in the ASD group to both social and non-social targets. When responses to social and non-social targets were contrasted, the ASD group showed relatively greater activation in the right and middle inferior frontal gyri and a region in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex that abuts the dorsal anterior cingulate (Brodmann's Area 32). Further, dorsal anterior cingulate activation to social targets predicted the severity of social impairments in a subset of the ASD sample. These data suggest that the dorsal anterior cingulate mediates social target detection in neurotypical individuals and is implicated in deficits of cognitive control of social information in ASD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Dichter, GS; Felder, JN; Bodfish, JW

Published Date

  • September 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 215 - 226

PubMed ID

  • 19574440

Pubmed Central ID

  • 19574440

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1749-5024

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/scan/nsp017

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • England