Objective: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulty attributing emotion and intention to the movement of triangles (Kana et al., 2009; Castelli et al., 2002), and avatar characters (Pelphrey et al., 2005). Such difficulties may underlie altered brain activation and connectivity patterns. This fMRI study investigated the temporal coherence of brain activity in response to interpreting movement of human figures and geometrical shapes in individuals with ASD. Method: 16 high functioning adults with ASD and 17 age-and-IQ-matched control adults were scanned while viewing short animations of two stick figures or two triangles performing socially meaningful (e.g., mocking) or random (e.g., tennis ball) movements. An Independent Component Analysis (ICA) was conducted, using the GIFT toolbox in Matlab, to determine group differences in components. Results: The ASD group showed increased temporal coherence in the extrastriate body area (EBA), right middle frontal, and left middle temporal areas for human movement. In the shape condition, the control group showed greater temporal coherence in right inferior frontal gyrus and left cerebellum (p < .005, minimum cluster size =155 mm3). Conclusion: Greater temporal coherence between the IFG and cerebellum in control participants when processing shape movement may suggest a greater propensity to ascribe social meanings to action through mirroring (Kilner et al., 2009), and to read the emotions underlying actions (Mazzola et al., 2013). Recruitment of EBA in ASD participants for human movements may reflect a higher degree of lower level visual processing (Downing et al., 2006) – a process which may limit higher order intentional attributions which facilitate social interaction.
Action Perception and Anthropomorphism in Autism: An Independent Component Analysis Measure of Brain Connectivity
C Ammons, C Stevens, R Kana; B-65
Action Perception and Anthropomorphism in Autism: An Independent Component Analysis Measure of Brain Connectivity. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2015; 30 (6): 546-547. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acv047.160
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