Autism, social cognition and superior temporal sulcus


Results on brain imaging studies have led to a better understanding of the neural circuits involved in social cognition and its implication in autism spectrum disorders(ASD). It has been shown that the superior temporal sulcus(STS)is highly implicated in social processes, from perception of socially relevant information, such as body movements or eye gaze, to more complex social cognition processes. Furthermore, several multimodal brain imaging results point to anatomo-functional abnormalities in the STS in both children and adults with ASD. These results are highly consistent with social impairments in ASD, among which eye gaze perception is particularly relevant. Gaze abnormalities can now be objectively measured using eye-tracking methodology, leading to a better characterization of social perception impairments in autism. Moreover, these gaze abnormalities have been associated with STS abnormalities in ASD. Based on these results, our hypothesis is that anatomo-functional anomalies in the STS occurring early across brain development could constitute the first step in the cascade of neural dysfunction underlying autism. In the present work, we’ll review recent data of STS contribution to normal social cognition and it’s implication in autism.

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Zilbovicius, M. , Saitovitch, A. , Popa, T. , Rechtman, E. , Diamandis, L. , Chabane, N. , Brunelle, F. , Samson, Y. and Boddaert, N. (2013) Autism, social cognition and superior temporal sulcus. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 3, 46-55. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2013.32A008.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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