Neural mechanisms of social-emotional dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder and conduct disorder

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Neural mechanisms of social-emotional dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder and conduct disorder

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Neural mechanisms of social-emotional dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder and conduct disorder
Author: Klapwijk, E.T.
Issue Date: 2018-01-23
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders
Conduct disorder
Callous-unemotional traits
Developmental psychopathology
Emotions
Empathy
Social decision-making
Fairness
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Diffusion tensor imaging
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and individuals with conduct disorder (CD) are characterized by notable impairments in social-emotional functioning. In this thesis social-emotional impairments were investigated using a cognitive neuroscience perspective (i.e., studying cognitive mechanisms and associated neural processes and structures). First, we directly compared groups of ASD and CD to test the hypothesized dissociable deficits in understanding other’s emotions in ASD in contrast to deficits in feeling other’s emotions in CD. This was done by comparing brain activity during basic emotion processing to assess cognitive and affective aspects of empathy, and by comparing white matter tracts that may underlie social-emotional processing. Second, we examined the neural processes at the level of social interactions in ASD and in CD, which has been overlooked by prior work, by studying interactive decision-making in response to other’s emotions. The results of the first part of this thesis show that different neural mechanisms underlie social-emotional difficulties in ASD and CD. Results of the second part imply that uncovering the neural correlates of interacting with others might lead to refined models of social-emotional deficits in ASD and CD that are different from previous accounts based on merely observing other’s emotions.
Promotor: Supervisor: Vermeiren R.R.J.M., Popma A. Co-Supervisor: Colins O.F.
Faculty: Medicine / Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)
University: Leiden
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/61137
 

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