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Behav Sci (Basel). 2013;3(3):348-71. doi: 10.3390/bs3030348.

Fusiform correlates of facial memory in autism.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, USA; htrontel@gmail.com.
2
Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84604, USA; tduffield2009@yahoo.com (T.C.D.); erin_bigler@byu.edu (E.D.B.).
3
Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84604, USA; tduffield2009@yahoo.com (T.C.D.); erin_bigler@byu.edu (E.D.B.) ; Neuroscience Center, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84604, USA ; The Brain Institute of Utah, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA; alyson.froehlich@hsc.utah.edu (A.F.); molly.prigge@hsc.utah.edu (M.B.D.P); jared.nielsen@hsc.utah.edu (J.A.N.); jason.cooperrider@hsc.utah.edu (J.R.C.); annahir.cariello@hsc.utah.edu (A.N.C.).
5
Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA; btravers@wisc.edu (B.G.T.); alalexander2@wisc.edu (A.A.).
6
Department of Radiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA; andersonjeffs@gmail.com.
7
Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, Division of Child Neurology, University of Utah and Primary Children's Medical Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA; brandon.zielinski@utah.edu.
8
Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA; btravers@wisc.edu (B.G.T.); alalexander2@wisc.edu (A.A.) ; Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA; jlainhart@wisc.edu (J.E.L.).
9
Departments of Psychiatry and Biostatistics, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02138, USA; nlange@hms.harvard.edu ; Neurostatistics Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA.
10
Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA; jlainhart@wisc.edu (J.E.L.) ; Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Abstract

Prior studies have shown that performance on standardized measures of memory in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is substantially reduced in comparison to matched typically developing controls (TDC). Given reported deficits in face processing in autism, the current study compared performance on an immediate and delayed facial memory task for individuals with ASD and TDC. In addition, we examined volumetric differences in classic facial memory regions of interest (ROI) between the two groups, including the fusiform, amygdala, and hippocampus. We then explored the relationship between ROI volume and facial memory performance. We found larger volumes in the autism group in the left amygdala and left hippocampus compared to TDC. In contrast, TDC had larger left fusiform gyrus volumes when compared with ASD. Interestingly, we also found significant negative correlations between delayed facial memory performance and volume of the left and right fusiform and the left hippocampus for the ASD group but not for TDC. The possibility of larger fusiform volume as a marker of abnormal connectivity and decreased facial memory is discussed.

KEYWORDS:

amygdala; autism; facial memory; fusiform gyrus; hippocampus

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