Neural correlates of coherent and biological motion perception in autism.
Developmental Science 14(5):1075-1088.
Recent evidence suggests those with autism may be generally impaired in visual motion perception. To examine this, we
investigated both coherent and biological motion processing in adolescents with autism employing both psychophysical and fMRI
methods. Those with autism performed as well as matched controls during coherent motion perception but had significantly
higher thresholds for biological motion perception. The autism group showed reduced posterior Superior Temporal Sulcus
(pSTS), parietal and frontal activity during a biological motion task while showing similar levels of activity in MT+⁄ V5 during
both coherent and biological motion trials. Activity in MT+⁄ V5 was predictive of individual coherent motion thresholds in both
groups. Activity in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and pSTS was predictive of biological motion thresholds in control
participants but not in those with autism. Notably, however, activity in DLPFC was negatively related to autism symptom
severity. These results suggest that impairments in higher-order social or attentional networks may underlie visual motion deficits
observed in autism.