Neuroscience Seminar : The Cingulate Cortex in Autism: Anatomy, connectivity, and perturbed social decision making
Dr Josh Balsters (ETH Zurich)
Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 1pm to 2pm
C113 Weiskrantz Room, Department of Experimental Psychology
Hosted by Matthew Apps (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The cingulate cortex is the most targeted anatomical structure in autism research (Cauda et al 2011). This is largely due to the fact that the cingulate cortex has been so closely associated with social cognition, one of the primary deficits in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this talk I will present two approaches to investigating the cingulate cortex in ASD, one task-free using resting state fMRI, the other task-based using a novel social decision making paradigm. In the first half of the talk I will describe a novel resting state fMRI pipeline that uses connectivity based parcellation in concert with task-based information to improve the power and interpretability of resting state fMRI analyses (Balsters et al 2016). This pipeline is applied to investigating the cingulate cortex in ASD. The second half of the talk will focus on a novel social decision making paradigm, designed to elicit activity in the gyral surface of the anterior cingulate cortex when tracking the outcomes of others' decisions. Here, I demonstrate an absence of socially specific prediction error signals in ASD, and the degree to which this signal is aberrant correlates with diagnostic measures of social symptom severity. These findings are discussed within the context of task-free vs task-based approaches, and the contribution of the cingulate cortex to ASD pathology.