Autistic empathy toward autistic others

Hidetsugu Komeda, Hirotaka Kosaka, Daisuke N. Saito, Yoko Mano, Minyoung Jung, Takeshi Fujii, Hisakazu T. Yanaka, Toshio Munesue, Makoto Ishitobi, Makoto Sato, Hidehiko Okazawa
2014 Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience  
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are thought to lack self-awareness and to experience difficulty empathizing with others. Although these deficits have been demonstrated in previous studies, most of the target stimuli were constructed for typically developing (TD) individuals. We employed judgment tasks capable of indexing self-relevant processing in individuals with and without ASD. Fourteen Japanese men and 1 Japanese women with high-functioning ASD (17-41 years of age) and 13
more » ... panese men and 2 TD Japanese women (22-40 years of age), all of whom were matched for age and full and verbal intelligence quotient scores with the ASD participants, were enrolled in this study. The results demonstrated that the ventromedial prefrontal cortex was significantly activated in individuals with ASD in response to autistic characters and in TD individuals in response to non-autistic characters. Although the frontal-posterior network between the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and superior temporal gyrus participated in the processing of non-autistic characters in TD individuals, an alternative network was involved when individuals with ASD processed autistic characters. This suggests an atypical form of empathy in individuals with ASD toward others with ASD.
doi:10.1093/scan/nsu126 pmid:25332405 pmcid:PMC4321632 fatcat:aipfev4mhvfgtjnpgnj5w37nju