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Autistic traits modulate frontostriatal connectivity during processing of rewarding faces

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Sims, T. B., Neufeld, J., Johnstone, T. and Chakrabarti, B. (2014) Autistic traits modulate frontostriatal connectivity during processing of rewarding faces. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 9 (12). pp. 2010-2016. ISSN 1749-5024

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsu010

Abstract/Summary

Deficits in facial mimicry have been widely reported in autism. Some studies have suggested that these deficits are restricted to spontaneous mimicry and do not extend to volitional mimicry. We bridge these apparently inconsistent observations, by testing the impact of reward value on neural indices of mimicry, and how autistic traits modulate this impact. Neutral faces were conditioned with high and low reward. Subsequently, functional connectivity between the ventral striatum (VS) and inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) was measured whilst neurotypical adults (n = 30) watched happy expressions made by these conditioned faces. We found greater VS-IFG connectivity in response to high-reward vs. low-reward happy faces. This difference was negatively proportional to autistic traits, suggesting that reduced spontaneous mimicry of social stimuli seen in autism, maybe related to a failure in the modulation of the mirror system by the reward system rather than a circumscribed deficit in the mirror system.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:36029
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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