To the top

Page Manager: Webmaster
Last update: 9/11/2012 3:13 PM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Emotional contagion for p… - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
Sitemap
To content Read more about how we use cookies on gu.se

Emotional contagion for pain is intact in autism spectrum disorders.

Journal article
Authors Nouchine Hadjikhani
N R Zürcher
O Rogier
L Hippolyte
E Lemonnier
T Ruest
N Ward
A Lassalle
Nanna Gillberg
Eva Billstedt
Adam Helles
I Carina Gillberg
P Solomon
K M Prkachin
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Translational psychiatry
Volume 4
Pages e343
Publication year 2014
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages e343
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1038/tp.2013.113
Keywords autism; emotion perception; fMRI; pain
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry

Abstract

Perceiving others in pain generally leads to empathic concern, consisting of both emotional and cognitive processes. Empathy deficits have been considered as an element contributing to social difficulties in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging and short video clips of facial expressions of people experiencing pain to examine the neural substrates underlying the spontaneous empathic response to pain in autism. Thirty-eight adolescents and adults of normal intelligence diagnosed with ASD and 35 matched controls participated in the study. In contrast to general assumptions, we found no significant differences in brain activation between ASD individuals and controls during the perception of pain experienced by others. Both groups showed similar levels of activation in areas associated with pain sharing, evidencing the presence of emotional empathy and emotional contagion in participants with autism as well as in controls. Differences between groups could be observed at a more liberal statistical threshold, and revealed increased activations in areas involved in cognitive reappraisal in ASD participants compared with controls. Scores of emotional empathy were positively correlated with brain activation in areas involved in embodiment of pain in ASD group only. Our findings show that simulation mechanisms involved in emotional empathy are preserved in high-functioning individuals with autism, and suggest that increased reappraisal may have a role in their apparent lack of caring behavior.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012
Share:

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?