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Table 1 MRI studies published between 2005 and 2009 exploring facial processing in samples of at least 10 patients with ASD, as determined by a PubMed search

From: Conceptual and methodological challenges for neuroimaging studies of autistic spectrum disorders

STUDY AUTISM GROUP
N Sex
Age (M ± SD)
CONTROL GROUP
N Sex
Age (M ± SD)
TASK DESIGN
[Cognitive process]
RESULTS IN ASD GROUP
Welchew DE et al., 2005[64] 13 M
(31.2 ± 9.1)
13 M
(25.6 ± 5.1)
Faces expressing different intensities of fear
[Emotional cognitive process]
Abnormal functional connectivity of medial TL
Dalton KM et al., 2005[38]     
Study I
Study II
14 M
(15.9 ± 4.71)
16 M
(14.5 ± 4.60)
12 M
(17.1 ± 2.78)
16 M
(14.5 ± 4.56)
Facial emotion discrimination task
[Emotional cognitive process]
Facial recognition task
[Cognitive perception]
Activation in the FG and AMY strongly and positively correlated with the time spent fixating the eyes in both studies
Dapretto M et al., 2006[65] 9 M 1 F
(12.05 ± 2.5)
9 M 1 F
(12.38 ± 2.2)
Face emotional recognition task
[Emotional cognitive process]
No activation in the IFG
Bölte S. et al., 2006[66] 5 M
(29.4 ± 5.9)
5 Ma
(25.8 ± 8.0)
Face recognition pre and post after FEFA
[Emotional cognitive process]
No significant activation changes in the FG pre- and post-training
Bird G. et al., 2006[67] 14 M 2 F
(33.3 ± 11.5)
14 M 2 F
(35.3 ± 12.1)
Task in which pairs of face and house stimuli were present on every trial
[Social and cognitive perception]
Failure of attention to modulate connectivity between extra striate areas and V1
Wang AT et al., 2007[68] 18 M
(12.5 ± 2.9)
18 M
(11.8 ± 1.9)
Irony comprehension
[Social and cognitive perception]
Reduced activity in the medial PFC and right STG
Ashwin C. et al., 2007[69] 13 M
(31.2 ± 9.1)
13 M
(25.6 ± 5.1)
Perception of fearful faces
[Emotional cognitive process]
Increase in the ACC and STC
Hadjikhani N.et al., 2007[70] 8 M 2 F
(34 ± 11)
4 M 3 F
(35 ± 12)
Passively viewing non emotional faces
[Cognitive perception]
Significant activation of FG and IOG; Hypoactivation in right AMY, IFC, STS, and face-related somatosensory and premotor cortex
Dichter GS et al., 2007[71] 16 M 1 F
(22.9 ± 5.2)
14 M 1 F
(24.6 ± 6.5)
Reaction time to arrow or gaze stimulus with similar flanker stimuli oriented (congruent or incongruent directions)
[Cognitive perception and control]
Hypoactivation in MFG, right IFG, bilateral intraparietal sulcus, and the ACC during incongruent gaze stimuli
Koshino H. et al., 2008[72] 11 M
(24.5 ± 10.2)
10 M 1 F
(28.7 ± 10.9)
n-back working memory task involving face recognition
[Working memory]
Hypoactivation in the left IPFC and in the right PTC
Kleinhans NM et al., 2008[73] 19
(23.5 ± 7.8)
21
(25.1 ± 7.6)
Facial emotion discrimination (familiar, unfamiliar and new friend)
[Emotional cognitive process]
No between-group differences in fusiform activation to faces or houses;
Significant FG-AMY and FG-STS functional connectivity
Pinkham AE et al., 2008[74] 12 M
(24.1 ± 5.7)
12 Mb (27.1 ± 3.9)
12 Mc (26.4 ± 5.2)
12 Md (28.0 ± 3.9)
Complex social judgments of faces
[Social and cognitive perception]
Reduced activation in the right AMY, FG, VLPFC
Humphreys K. et al., 2008[75] 13 M
(27 ± 10)
15 M
(29 ± 10)
1) Conventional face and object mapping
2) Motion pictures experiment
[Emotional cognitive process and perception]
Decreased of activation, not only in fusiform face area but also in STC and occipital area
Uddin LQ et al., 2008[76] 12 M
(13.19 ± 2.6)
12 M
(12.23 ± 2.10)
Responsiveness to images of the subjects' own face and of others' faces
[Emotional perception]
Activation of right PM/PF system while viewing images containing mostly their own face
Bookheimer SY et al., 2008[77] 12 M
(11.3 ± 4.0)
12 M
(11.9 ± 2.4)
Subjects had to match faces presented in the upright versus and inverted position
[Cognitive perception]
No differences in the FG;
Decrease in activation in left PFC;
No activation in AMY for upright task
Pierce K. et al., 2008[78] 9 M 2 F
(9.9)
9 M 2 F
(9.8)
Pictures of a familiar adult or child, stranger adult or child, objects
[Emotional cognitive process and perception]
Deficit in the mean number of significantly active voxels in FG looking at stranger adults face
Corbett BA et al., 2009[79] 12 (8-12)e 15 (8-12)e Matching facial expressions and people
[Emotional cognitive process and perception]
Reduction of FG and AMY activation involved in face processing
  1. (Key words: "ASD and fMRI", "Autism and fMRI", "Asperger and fMRI", "High-functioning Autism and fMRI" High-functioning ASD and fMRI", "Autism and fMRI and facial processing").
  2. TL = temporal lobe; FG = fusiform gyrus; AMY = amygdala; Frankfurt Test and Training of Facial Affect Recognition (FEFA); V1 = primary visual cortex; PFC = prefontal cortex; STG = superior temporal gyrus; ACC = anterior cingulate cortex; STC = superior temporal cortex; IOG = inferior occipital gyrus; IFC = inferior frontal cortex; STS = superior temporal sulcus; MFG: midfrontal gyrus; IFG = inferior frontal gyrus; IPFC = inferior prefrontal cortex; PTC = posterior temporal cortex; VLPFC = ventrolateral prefrontal cortex;PM premotor; PF = prefrontal.
  3. aThis five participants were ASD and were not randomly assigned to the experimental group for receiving emotion recognition training.
  4. bnormal control.
  5. cindividuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder with prominent paranoid symptoms.
  6. dindividuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder without paranoid symptoms.
  7. e Age range
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