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Impaired inhibitory control is associated with higher-order repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 January 2009

M. W. Mosconi
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
M. Kay
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
A.-M. D'Cruz
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
A. Seidenfeld
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
S. Guter
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
L. D. Stanford
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
J. A. Sweeney*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, Center for Cognitive Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr J. A. Sweeney, Center for Cognitive Medicine, 912 S. Wood St., MC 913, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. (Email: jsweeney@psych.uic.edu)

Abstract

Background

Impairments in executive cognitive control, including a reduced ability to inhibit prepotent responses, have been reported in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These deficits may underlie patterns of repetitive behaviors associated with the disorder.

Method

Eighteen individuals with ASD and 15 age- and IQ-matched healthy individuals performed an antisaccade task and a visually guided saccade control task, each with gap and overlap conditions. Measures of repetitive behaviors were obtained using the Autism Diagnostic Inventory – Revised (ADI-R) and examined in relation to neurocognitive task performance.

Results

Individuals with an ASD showed increased rates of prosaccade errors (failures to inhibit prepotent responses) on the antisaccade task regardless of task condition (gap/overlap). Prosaccade error rates were associated with the level of higher-order (e.g. compulsions, preoccupations) but not sensorimotor repetitive behaviors in ASD.

Conclusions

Neurocognitive disturbances in voluntary behavioral control suggest that alterations in frontostriatal systems contribute to higher-order repetitive behaviors in ASD.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press

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