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An fMRI investigation of detection of semantic incongruities in autistic spectrum conditions


Dr H. Ring, as above.


The aim of this study was to investigate differences in the brain’s haemodynamic response to semantically incongruent and congruent sentences in adults with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) and a typically developing Control group. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure regional variations in neural activity during detection of semantic incongruities within written sentences. Whilst the 12 controls showed a pattern of activity extending from posterior cingulate cortices bilaterally and the left occipitotemporal region to the left superior and inferior temporal lobes, right anterior cingulate and right inferior frontal gyrus, the 12 participants with an ASC presented a more spatially restricted activation pattern, including the left inferior frontal gyrus, left anterior cingulate cortex and right middle frontal gyrus. These results are coherent with the hypothesis that impaired integration of multiple neural networks in people with an ASC is related to previous observations that this group have difficulties in the use of context to predict the final word of sentences.