The Neural Basis of Reward Processing In Autism Spectrum Disorders
Research Field:Life Sciences
Lead PI:Prof. Louise Gallagher
Abstract:The purpose of this study is to investigate the neural correlates of reward processing among adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Data are being collected using both structural and functional neuroimaging techniques. Aproximately twenty participants with ASD and twenty age and IQ matched controls will be recruited overall. In terms of the functional data participants perform two fMRI tasks that are known to activate neural reward systems; the classic Monetary Incentive Delay Task (MID) and a newly developed Social Incentive Delay Task (SID). The structural integrity of the cortical-basal ganglia circuit (which subserves reward processing), will be evaluated using Voxel Based Morphometry, Tract Based Spatial Statistics and Tractography. In addition, measures of behavioural symptoms are being collected using the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R). These will be used to evaluate the neuroimaging findings in terms of behavioural symptoms.