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Keywords:

  • Response monitoring;
  • Autism spectrum disorder;
  • ERN;
  • Anterior cingulate cortex

Abstract

A number of studies suggest anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) abnormalities in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which might underlie response monitoring and social impairments exhibited by children and adolescents with ASD. The goal of the present study was to extend this work by examining error and correct response monitoring using event-related potentials (ERN, Pe, CRN) and LORETA source localization in high functioning adults with ASD and controls. Adults with ASD showed reduced ERN and Pe amplitudes and reduced rostral ACC activation compared with controls. Adults with ASD also showed less differentiation between error and correct ERP components. Social impairments and higher overall autism symptoms were related to reduced rostral ACC activity at the time of the ERN, particularly in adults with ASD. These findings suggest that reduced ACC activity may reflect a putative brain mechanism involved in the origins and maintenance of social impairments and raise the possibility of the presence of stable brain-behavior relation impairment across development in some individuals with ASD.