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- TITLE: Brain Activity of Adolescents with High Functioning Autism in Response to Emotional Words and Facial Emoticons
- AUTHORS: Doug Hyun Han, Hee Jeong Yoo, Bung Nyun Kim, William McMahon, Perry F. Renshaw
JOURNAL NAME: PLOS ONE
Sep 06, 2014
- ABSTRACT: Studies of social dysfunction in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have generally focused on the perception of emotional words and facial affect. Brain imaging studies have suggested that the fusiform gyrus is associated with both the comprehension of language and face recognition. We hypothesized that patients with ASD would have decreased ability to recognize affect via emotional words and facial emoticons, relative to healthy comparison subjects. In addition, we expected that this decreased ability would be associated with altered activity of the fusiform gyrus in patients with ASD. Ten male adolescents with ASDs and ten age and sex matched healthy comparison subjects were enrolled in this case-control study. The diagnosis of autism was further evaluated with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Brain activity was assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in response to emotional words and facial emoticon presentation. Sixty emotional words (45 pleasant words +15 unpleasant words) were extracted from a report on Korean emotional terms and their underlying dimensions. Sixty emoticon faces (45 pleasant faces +15 unpleasant faces) were extracted and modified from on-line sites. Relative to healthy comparison subjects, patients with ASD have increased activation of fusiform gyrus in response to emotional aspects of words. In contrast, patients with ASD have decreased activation of fusiform gyrus in response to facial emoticons, relative to healthy comparison subjects. We suggest that patients with ASD are more familiar with word descriptions than facial expression as depictions of emotion.