For a study, the researchers investigated the effect of auditory sensory distractors on the neural processing of emotion identification in youth with ASD and the consequences of increased attention to social cues by priming participants with their emotional faces. The relationship between parent-rated auditory SOR and brain responses was also examined. Despite showing comparable behavioral performance on the task, ASD and TD youth demonstrated distinct patterns of neural activity. Comparable to TD, ASD youth showed more significant increases in the amygdala, insula, and primary sensory regions when identifying emotions with noises compared to no sounds. After viewing videos of their emotional faces, ASD youth showed more significant increases in medial prefrontal cortex activation than TD youth. Within ASD youth, lower SOR was related with reduced, increased activity in subcortical regions after the prime and more excellent increased activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex after the prime, particularly in trials with noises. The results suggested that the sensory environment plays a vital role in how ASD youth process social information. Additionally, for a study, the researchers demonstrated that increasing attention to relevant social cues helps ASD youth engage frontal regions involved in higher-order social cognition, a mechanism that could be targeted in interventions. Significantly, the effect of the intervention may depend on individual differences in SOR, supporting the importance of pre-screening youth for sensory challenges before social interventions.

 

Link:jneurodevdisorders.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s11689-021-09391-0