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Psychol Rev. 1996 Jul;103(3):457-89.

Neurofunctional mechanisms in autism.

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  • 1Trenton State College, New Jersey 08650-4700, USA.


Behavioral impairments in autism are theorized to result from abnormal neuronal organization in brain development generating 4 systemically related neurofunctional impairments: (a) canalesthesia, wherein abnormal hippocampal system function "canalizes" sensory records, disrupting integration of information; (b) impaired assignment of the affective significance of stimuli, wherein abnormal amygdaloid system function disrupts affect association; (c) asociality, wherein impaired oxytocin system function flattens social bonding and affiliativeness; and (d) extended selective attention, wherein abnormal organization of temporal and parietal polysensory regions yields aberrant overprocessing of primary representations. This model proposes that complex human behaviors may be guided by multiple overlapping neural mechanisms.

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