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Published November 2004 | public
Journal Article

Neuroanatomical substrates of social cognition dysfunction in autism


In this review article, we summarize recent progress toward understanding the neural structures and circuitry underlying dysfunctional social cognition in autism. We review selected studies from the growing literature that has used the functional neuroimaging techniques of cognitive neuroscience to map out the neuroanatomical substrates of social cognition in autism. We also draw upon functional neuroimaging studies with neurologically normal individuals and individuals with brain lesions to highlight the insights these studies offer that may help elucidate the search for the neural basis of social cognition deficits in autism. We organize this review around key brain structures that have been implicated in the social cognition deficits in autism: (1) the amygdala, (2) the superior temporal sulcus region, and (3) the fusiform gyrus. We review some of what is known about the contribution of each structure to social cognition and then review autism studies that implicate that particular structure. We conclude with a discussion of several potential future directions in the cognitive neuroscience of social deficits in autism.

Additional Information

© 2004 Wiley-Liss. Manuscript Received: 17 November 2004. Manuscript Accepted: 22 November 2004. Version of record online: 21 January 2005. Special Issue: An Update on Autism Research Grant sponsor: North Carolina Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment Center, NIH; Grant number: 1 U54 MH66418. Grant sponsor: NIMH; Grant number: 1 K01 MH071284–0 (to KP).

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 25, 2023