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Self-face recognition in children with autism spectrum disorders: A near-infrared spectroscopy study

  • Yosuke Kita
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Graduate School of Education, Tohoku University, 27-1 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 981-8576, Japan. Tel.: +81 42 346 2035; fax: +81 42 346 2158.
    Affiliations
    Graduate School of Education, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

    Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan

    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Atsuko Gunji
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Yuki Inoue
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Takaaki Goto
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Kotoe Sakihara
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Makiko Kaga
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Masumi Inagaki
    Affiliations
    Department of Developmental Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Toru Hosokawa
    Affiliations
    Graduate School of Education, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
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Published:December 20, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.braindev.2010.11.007

      Abstract

      It is assumed that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have specificities for self-face recognition, which is known to be a basic cognitive ability for social development. In the present study, we investigated neurological substrates and potentially influential factors for self-face recognition of ASD patients using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The subjects were 11 healthy adult men, 13 normally developing boys, and 10 boys with ASD. Their hemodynamic activities in the frontal area and their scanning strategies (eye-movement) were examined during self-face recognition. Other factors such as ASD severities and self-consciousness were also evaluated by parents and patients, respectively. Oxygenated hemoglobin levels were higher in the regions corresponding to the right inferior frontal gyrus than in those corresponding to the left inferior frontal gyrus. In two groups of children these activities reflected ASD severities, such that the more serious ASD characteristics corresponded with lower activity levels. Moreover, higher levels of public self-consciousness intensified the activities, which were not influenced by the scanning strategies. These findings suggest that dysfunction in the right inferior frontal gyrus areas responsible for self-face recognition is one of the crucial neural substrates underlying ASD characteristics, which could potentially be used to evaluate psychological aspects such as public self-consciousness.

      Keywords

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