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Dopamine and the development of executive dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders.

Kriete T, Noelle DC - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: A more detailed examination of these behaviors reveals, however, that some aspects of executive function remain developmentaly appropriate.This model offers excellent qualitative and quantitative fits to performance on standard tests of cognitive control and cognitive flexibility in this clinical population.By simulating the development of the prefrontal cortex, the computational model also offers a potential explanation for an observed lack of executive dysfunction early in life.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.

ABSTRACT
Persons with autism regularly exhibit executive dysfunction (ED), including problems with deliberate goal-directed behavior, planning, and flexible responding in changing environments. Indeed, this array of deficits is sufficiently prominent to have prompted a theory that executive dysfunction is at the heart of these disorders. A more detailed examination of these behaviors reveals, however, that some aspects of executive function remain developmentaly appropriate. In particular, while people with autism often have difficulty with tasks requiring cognitive flexibility, their fundamental cognitive control capabilities, such as those involved in inhibiting an inappropriate but relatively automatic response, show no significant impairment on many tasks. In this article, an existing computational model of the prefrontal cortex and its role in executive control is shown to explain this dichotomous pattern of behavior by positing abnormalities in the dopamine-based modulation of frontal systems in individuals with autism. This model offers excellent qualitative and quantitative fits to performance on standard tests of cognitive control and cognitive flexibility in this clinical population. By simulating the development of the prefrontal cortex, the computational model also offers a potential explanation for an observed lack of executive dysfunction early in life.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Stroop Performance.Healthy XT Model, Autistic XT Model, & Healthy Human Data. Error bars represent standard error of the mean.
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pone.0121605.g003: Stroop Performance.Healthy XT Model, Autistic XT Model, & Healthy Human Data. Error bars represent standard error of the mean.

Mentions: Model performance on the Stroop task provided good quantitative and qualitative fits to human performance. (See Fig 3 for a comparison of reaction time performance for the healthy networks, the networks simulating people with autism, and healthy human data from [47].) The model with normal DA function displayed the classic Stroop reaction time results. The prepotent word reading dimension showed uniform reaction times across both congruent and conflict conditions, while the weaker color naming dimension exhibited a slowing in reaction times when the stimuli were incongruent, successfully demonstrating the Stroop effect. Importantly, the performance of the autistic models was virtually identical to the that of the healthy models, with no significant increase in the overall Stroop interference (F(1,198) = 0.62; p > 0.43). This is consistent with previously reported findings that people with autism show no reliable increase in Stroop interference, as compared with controls [2,11–13].


Dopamine and the development of executive dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders.

Kriete T, Noelle DC - PLoS ONE (2015)

Stroop Performance.Healthy XT Model, Autistic XT Model, & Healthy Human Data. Error bars represent standard error of the mean.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4374973&req=5

pone.0121605.g003: Stroop Performance.Healthy XT Model, Autistic XT Model, & Healthy Human Data. Error bars represent standard error of the mean.
Mentions: Model performance on the Stroop task provided good quantitative and qualitative fits to human performance. (See Fig 3 for a comparison of reaction time performance for the healthy networks, the networks simulating people with autism, and healthy human data from [47].) The model with normal DA function displayed the classic Stroop reaction time results. The prepotent word reading dimension showed uniform reaction times across both congruent and conflict conditions, while the weaker color naming dimension exhibited a slowing in reaction times when the stimuli were incongruent, successfully demonstrating the Stroop effect. Importantly, the performance of the autistic models was virtually identical to the that of the healthy models, with no significant increase in the overall Stroop interference (F(1,198) = 0.62; p > 0.43). This is consistent with previously reported findings that people with autism show no reliable increase in Stroop interference, as compared with controls [2,11–13].

Bottom Line: A more detailed examination of these behaviors reveals, however, that some aspects of executive function remain developmentaly appropriate.This model offers excellent qualitative and quantitative fits to performance on standard tests of cognitive control and cognitive flexibility in this clinical population.By simulating the development of the prefrontal cortex, the computational model also offers a potential explanation for an observed lack of executive dysfunction early in life.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.

ABSTRACT
Persons with autism regularly exhibit executive dysfunction (ED), including problems with deliberate goal-directed behavior, planning, and flexible responding in changing environments. Indeed, this array of deficits is sufficiently prominent to have prompted a theory that executive dysfunction is at the heart of these disorders. A more detailed examination of these behaviors reveals, however, that some aspects of executive function remain developmentaly appropriate. In particular, while people with autism often have difficulty with tasks requiring cognitive flexibility, their fundamental cognitive control capabilities, such as those involved in inhibiting an inappropriate but relatively automatic response, show no significant impairment on many tasks. In this article, an existing computational model of the prefrontal cortex and its role in executive control is shown to explain this dichotomous pattern of behavior by positing abnormalities in the dopamine-based modulation of frontal systems in individuals with autism. This model offers excellent qualitative and quantitative fits to performance on standard tests of cognitive control and cognitive flexibility in this clinical population. By simulating the development of the prefrontal cortex, the computational model also offers a potential explanation for an observed lack of executive dysfunction early in life.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus