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

Neural mechanisms for social cognition in autism spectrum disorders  

Saxe and colleagues plan to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify precise details about the brain regions involved in theory of mind—the ability to deduce others' beliefs and intentions—in healthy adults. Once the researchers have characterized the neural mechanisms at work in the healthy brain, they plan to look for brain regions that are over- or under-activated in individuals with autism during social interactions in the laboratory. The researchers also plan to use fMRI to gauge the effectiveness of two computer-based programs to improve social perception and interaction in individuals with autism: iSET combines a video camera and software that identify and interpret facial expressions and gestures in real time; Mind Reading, an interactive computer program created by noted autism researcher Simon Baron-Cohen, trains users to recognize a wide variety of emotions. This study may expand knowledge of the neural mechanisms involved in social cognition and how these mechanisms become defective in autism. The findings may also help identify new targets for behavioral and drug therapies for individuals with autism. Project Status


Funder Simons Foundation
Fiscal Year Funding $229,729.50
Project Number 95096
Principal Investigator Saxe, Rebecca
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening? (Biology)
Strategic Plan Objective 2O. Not specific to Question 2 objectives
Federal or Private? Private
Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
State/Country Massachusetts
Web Link 1 Neural mechanisms for social cognition in autism spectrum disorders (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Neural mechanisms for social cognition in autism spectrum disorders | $223,232.50 | 2010 | 95096