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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

Social Motivations and Striatal Circuit Development in Children and Adolescents with Autism

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Pandmanabhan, Aarthi

Description

Description

Deficits in social communication are fundamental behavioral outcomes in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and are manifested in a lack of orientation to, and engagement with, communication signals, including speech. It is possible that communication difficulties arise from impairments in the connections between areas of the brain involved in speech and those that support the processing of social reward cues and emotion; disconnection between these regions could significantly impact the basic motivation to engage in social communication. This is an important area to understand, as speech is a critical communicative tool that is essential throughout the lifespan, and a lack of motivation to pursue social communication may aversely impact the development of other key social skills. However, little is known about how the social brain develops in children and adolescents with ASD. Thus, this project seeks to map out developmental changes in brain function, as well as the formation of critical connections between speech and reward regions of the brain, during late childhood and adolescence, in both individuals with ASD and those without. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we will examine brain function in 40 individuals (ages 7-18 years) with high functioning autism and 40 typically-developing individuals as they listen to both their mothers’ voices and strangers’ voices. As a mother’s voice is arguably the earliest and most critical vocal source in a child’s life, we predict that the brain’s reward systems will be more engaged when participants hear these sounds relative to when they hear strangers’ voices. We also predict that the development of these critical brain areas will differ between individuals with and without ASD. The results of this study have the potential to contribute to the identification of critical developmental time periods during which brain-based treatments of social impairments may be most helpful to individuals with ASD.

Funder

Funder

Autism Science Foundation

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

0

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2014-2015

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 2: How Can I Understand What Is Happening?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 2LB. Launch at least three studies which evaluate the applicability of ASD phenotype and/or biological signature findings for performing diagnosis, risk assessment, or clinical intervention by 2015. IACC Recommended Budget: $7,200,000 over 5 years.

Project Link

Project Link

Social Motivations and Striatal Circuit Development in Children and Adolescents with Autism (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Stanford University

State/Country

State/Country

California

Project Number

Project Number

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

Social Motivations and Striatal Circuit Development in Children and Adolescents with Autism | 35000 | 2014 |

 
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