Autism Journal Club

Altered Medial Frontal and Superior Temporal Response to Implicit Processing of Emotions in Autism by Kana et al (2015) Autism Research [epub]

Interpreting emotional expressions appropriately poses a challenge for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In particular, difficulties with emotional processing in ASD are more pronounced in contexts where emotional expressions are subtle, automatic, and reflexive—that is, implicit. In contrast, explicit emotional processing, which requires the cognitive evaluation of an emotional experience, appears to be relatively intact in individuals with ASD. In this study, Kana et al (2015) examined the brain activation and functional connectivity differences underlying explicit and implicit emotional processing in age- and IQ-matched adults with and without ASD. The results suggested that the neural mechanisms underlying implicit, but not explicit, emotion processing may be altered at multiple levels in individuals with ASD.