The neural substrates of cognitive control deficits in autism spectrum disorders

Marjorie Solomon Friedman, Sally J Ozonoff, Stefan Ursu, Susan Ravizza, Neil Cummings, Stanford Ly, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

162 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Executive function deficits are among the most frequently reported symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), however, there have been few functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that investigate the neural substrates of executive function deficits in ASDs, and only one in adolescents. The current study examined cognitive control - the ability to maintain task context online to support adaptive functioning in the face of response competition - in 22 adolescents aged 12-18 with autism spectrum disorders and 23 age, gender, and IQ matched typically developing subjects. During the cue phase of the task, where subjects must maintain information online to overcome a prepotent response tendency, typically developing subjects recruited significantly more anterior frontal (BA 10), parietal (BA 7 and BA 40), and occipital regions (BA 18) for high control trials (25% of trials) versus low control trials (75% of trials). Both groups showed similar activation for low control cues, however the ASD group exhibited significantly less activation for high control cues. Functional connectivity analysis using time series correlation, factor analysis, and beta series correlation methods provided convergent evidence that the ASD group exhibited lower levels of functional connectivity and less network integration between frontal, parietal, and occipital regions. In the typically developing group, fronto-parietal connectivity was related to lower error rates on high control trials. In the autism group, reduced fronto-parietal connectivity was related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2515-2526
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume47
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

Cues
Occipital Lobe
Executive Function
Parietal Lobe
Aptitude
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Autistic Disorder
Statistical Factor Analysis
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Keywords

  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cognitive control
  • Executive functions
  • fMRI
  • Functional connectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

Cite this

The neural substrates of cognitive control deficits in autism spectrum disorders. / Friedman, Marjorie Solomon; Ozonoff, Sally J; Ursu, Stefan; Ravizza, Susan; Cummings, Neil; Ly, Stanford; Carter, Cameron S.

In: Neuropsychologia, Vol. 47, No. 12, 10.2009, p. 2515-2526.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Friedman, Marjorie Solomon ; Ozonoff, Sally J ; Ursu, Stefan ; Ravizza, Susan ; Cummings, Neil ; Ly, Stanford ; Carter, Cameron S. / The neural substrates of cognitive control deficits in autism spectrum disorders. In: Neuropsychologia. 2009 ; Vol. 47, No. 12. pp. 2515-2526.
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