Atypical brain responses to reward cues in autism as revealed by event-related potentials.

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TitleAtypical brain responses to reward cues in autism as revealed by event-related potentials.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsKohls, G, Peltzer, J, Schulte-Rüther, M, Kamp-Becker, I, Remschmidt, H, Herpertz-Dahlmann, B, Konrad, K
JournalJ Autism Dev Disord
Date Published2011 Nov
KeywordsAdolescent, Autistic Disorder, Brain, Case-Control Studies, Child, Cues, Electroencephalography, Evoked Potentials, Humans, Male, Motivation, Neuropsychological Tests, Reaction Time, Reward, Social Perception

Social motivation deficit theories suggest that children with autism do not properly anticipate and appreciate the pleasure of social stimuli. In this study, we investigated event-related brain potentials evoked by cues that triggered social versus monetary reward anticipation in children with autism. Children with autism showed attenuated P3 activity in response to cues associated with a timely reaction to obtain a reward, irrespective of reward type. We attribute this atypical P3 activity in response to reward cues as reflective of diminished motivated attention to reward signals, a possible contributor to reduced social motivation in autism. Thus, our findings suggest a general reward processing deficit rather than a specific social reward dysfunction in autism.

Alternate JournalJ Autism Dev Disord
PubMed ID21290174
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