Researchers at UCLA trained the brains of autistic individuals to respond more strongly to visual and vocal cues. Typically, people with autism have reduced activity in the brain areas which interpret such cues; through the use of explicit instruction, the researchers taught children with ASD to pay more attention to such cues. 18 ASD boys and 18 typically developing boys underwent fMRI while watching a cartoon; after being given instructions to pay close attention to the faces in the cartoon, only the ASD boys had significantly increased brain activitiy in the medial prefrontal cortex. These findings could have future implications for intervention.
The study was published in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.
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