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Processing of pragmatic communication in ASD: A video-based brain imaging study

Kotila, A., Hyvärinen, A., Mäkinen, L., Leinonen, E., Hurtig, T., Ebeling, H., Korhonen, V., Kiviniemi, V.J. and Loukusa, S. (2020) Processing of pragmatic communication in ASD: A video-based brain imaging study. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). Art. 21739.

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Social and pragmatic difficulties in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are widely recognized, although their underlying neural level processing is not well understood. The aim of this study was to examine the activity of the brain network components linked to social and pragmatic understanding in order to reveal whether complex socio-pragmatic events evoke differences in brain activity between the ASD and control groups. Nineteen young adults (mean age 23.6 years) with ASD and 19 controls (mean age 22.7 years) were recruited for the study. The stimulus data consisted of video clips showing complex social events that demanded processing of pragmatic communication. In the analysis, the functional magnetic resonance imaging signal responses of the selected brain network components linked to social and pragmatic information processing were compared. Although the processing of the young adults with ASD was similar to that of the control group during the majority of the social scenes, differences between the groups were found in the activity of the social brain network components when the participants were observing situations with concurrent verbal and non-verbal communication events. The results suggest that the ASD group had challenges in processing concurrent multimodal cues in complex pragmatic communication situations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Vice Chancellery
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2020 The Authors.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
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