Hyperconnectivity of social brain networks in autism during action-intention judgment

Academic Article


  • Deficits in social communication in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been documented using neuroimaging techniques such as functional MRI over the past decade. More recently, functional connectivity MRI has revealed altered connectivity in face processing, mentalizing, and mirroring brain networks, networks involved in the social brain in ASD. However, to our knowledge, previous studies have not examined these three networks concurrently. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the functional connectivity of the face processing, mentalizing, and mirroring networks (within each network and across networks) in ASD during an action-intention task in which participants were asked to determine the means and intention of a model's actions. We examined: a) within-network connectivity of each network using an ROI-to-ROI analysis; b) connectivity of each network hub to the rest of the brain using a seed-to-voxel analysis; c) the between-network connectivity of each network hub using ROI-to-ROI analysis; and d) brain-behavior relationships by correlating autism symptoms with brain connectivity. Task-fMRI data were used from 21 participants with ASD and 20 typically developing participants. The ASD group consistently showed significantly greater connectivity between networks and between hub regions to the rest of the brain. Hyperconnectivity in ASD may entail more and widespread resource utilization for accomplishing action-intention judgment.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuropsychologia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Seghatol-Eslami VC; Maximo JO; Ammons CJ; Libero LE; Kana RK
  • Volume

  • 137