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Abnormal activation of the social brain network in children with autism spectrum disorder: an FMRI study

 Sun-Young Kim  ;  Uk-Su Choi  ;  Sung-Yeon Park  ;  Se-Hong Oh  ;  Hyo-Woon Yoon  ;  Yun-Joo Koh  ;  Woo-Young Im  ;  Jee-In Park  ;  Dong-Ho Song  ;  Keun-Ah Cheon  ;  Chang-Uk Lee 
 PSYCHIATRY INVESTIGATION, Vol.12(1) : 37-45, 2015 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Autism spectrum disorder ; Social brain network ; Social cognition ; fMRI
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to investigate abnormal findings of social brain network in Korean children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with typically developing children (TDC).

METHODS: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed to examine brain activations during the processing of emotional faces (happy, fearful, and neutral) in 17 children with ASD, 24 TDC.

RESULTS: When emotional face stimuli were given to children with ASD, various areas of the social brain relevant to social cognition showed reduced activation. Specifically, ASD children exhibited less activation in the right amygdala (AMY), right superior temporal sulcus (STS) and right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) than TDC group when fearful faces were shown. Activation of left insular cortex and right IFG in response to happy faces was less in the ASD group. Similar findings were also found in left superior insular gyrus and right insula in case of neutral stimulation.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that children with ASD have different processing of social and emotional experience at the neural level. In other words, the deficit of social cognition in ASD could be explained by the deterioration of the capacity for visual analysis of emotional faces, the subsequent inner imitation through mirror neuron system (MNS), and the ability to transmit it to the limbic system and to process the transmitted emotion.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Psychiatry (정신과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Sun Young(김선영)
Park, Jee In(박지인)
Song, Dong Ho(송동호) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9647-3130
Cheon, Keun Ah(천근아) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7113-9286
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