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Increased activation in left anterior cingulate during reward in people with Asperger's syndrome

January 21, 2008

A study conducted by Dr Nicole Schmitz, Dr Katya Rubia and Prof Declan Murphy published in the January edition of British Journal of Psychiatry shows evidence that people with Asperger’s syndrome (ASP) have increased activation of the left anterior cingulate during the processing of reward which correlated with the severity of their problems with social interaction.

It has been argued that abnormalities in the limbic reward system of the brain, that is important for the processing of reward, including social feedback, could be the underlying cause for poor emotional and social interaction in people with ASP. This study provides evidence for this theory by showing that abnormal limbic brain reactivity to reward feedback is correlated with deficits in social interaction.

The studies authors were: Schmitz N, Rubia K, Daly E, Smith A, van Amelsvoort T, Murphy D (2008) The neural substrates of monetary reward in autism. British J of Psychiatry, 192, 19-25.  Please refer to the journal for a full copy of the study.
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