Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Reward systems in children with autism  

This is an individual National Research Service Award for pre-doctoral research training, which provides support for promising doctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in a scientific health-related field. The basal ganglia (BG) system has been implicated in learning and memory, language, motor behaviors, and social communication, all of which are disrupted in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This study will investigate the BG in autism as a possible core neurobiological component of the disorder using both structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The study will use an established implicit learning task, which has been shown to rely on the BG, and add a reward component to test the hypothesis that ASD children will show less activity in this area compared to typically developing children. Beyond investigating functional deficits in the basal ganglia, this research will also explore the underlying link between neural structure to behavior by relating the functional and structural measures to measures of repetitive behaviors, restricted interests, and overall severity of autistic symptoms. By addressing relationships between behavior, structure, and function of one system in both children with and without autism, a clearer picture of how implicit learning and reward system dysfunction may contribute to some of the core deficits in autism will emerge. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $29,840.00
Project Number 5F31MH079645-02
Principal Investigator Scott, Ashley
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 1: When Should I Be Concerned? (Diagnosis)
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 1LB. Develop at least five measures of behavioral and/or biological heterogeneity in children or adults with ASD, beyond variation in intellectual disability, that clearly relate to etiology and risk, treatment response and/or outcome by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $71,100,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of California, Los Angeles
State/Country California
Web Link 1 Reward systems in children with autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
History/Related Projects N/A