Monday, September 21, 2015

Facial Processing in People with Autism

I was curious to see how people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder processed people's faces. I previously knew that people with autism had trouble making personal connections with people and looking at people's faces. I wondered why this was. After some research, I was able to find a study that had been conducted on those with autism and how they processed faces. A study was done and what researchers found was that people with autism do not show any kind of activity in the fusiform face area of their brain. The level of activity was being measured using a functional MRI. The fusiform face area is a part of the brain that, in people that are not autistic, is responsible for facial recognition. This area tends to light up on the scan when normal people look at other people's faces. What researchers instead found was that autistic people processed faces in different portions of their brain. Each autistic participant had their own unique area in their brain that they processed faces in that would light up when they saw a face. There still is yet to be research done for the reason of this, but this aids researchers in trying to understand more about autism and how visual processing differs in people with autism.

Here is a link to the study:

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