Also unlike the TD group, while viewing these same expressions with averted gaze, the ASD group selleck chem inhibitor showed a nearly identical pattern of activity as that in response to viewing gaze-direct conditions. A direct statistical comparison of brain responses of the ASD group to gaze-direct selleck bio versus gaze-averted conditions showed no significant differences in activation (Fig. 2B). Between-group effects To directly test the hypothesis
Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical that TD children showed selectively greater activation during direct-gaze processing of negative emotional faces compared to the ASD children, we contrasted brain responses to negative emotions versus null events between the groups, using both within-group results as a combined mask to restrict our search only within those regions
that showed significant activity in either group. Viewing negatively valenced, gaze-direct faces elicited greater activation in the TD group in one region only: bilateral VLPFC Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical (Fig. 3 and Table Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical 3). In contrast, no region showed significantly more activation in the ASD than TD group for this gaze-direct contrast. For the gaze-averted contrasts, between-group differences were limited to a region in somatosensory cortex, which was significantly more active in the ASD group (Table 3). Finally, the between-group contrast assessing differences Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical in response to gaze-direct versus gaze-averted images (i.e., the interaction effect between group and gaze condition) yielded a single cluster in left VLPFC (P < 0.05, corrected for small volume at the cluster level), confirming greater activity in this region in the TD versus the ASD group for direct versus averted eye gaze. Table 3 Peaks of activation while viewing faces with negative emotions and direct or averted
gazes, compared between TD and ASD groups Figure 3 Negative direct–negative averted. TD > ASD: BOLD signal changes in left Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical VLPFC (x, y, z = −50, 26, −8, BA 47; 47 voxels). Dacomitinib For display purposes, images are thresholded at t > 2.60, P < 0.01, k > 20 … Discussion In the present study we found that TD children show marked regional increases in brain activity in response to negative emotional expressions conveying direct as opposed to averted gazes, where the facial expressions were otherwise identical. Sensitivity to this subtle stimulus alteration suggests that the significance of direct eye gaze in emotionally expressive faces is powerfully registered in the young brain during face processing. Interpreting and responding accordingly to whether or not cues conveyed about others’ mental or emotional states relate immediately to you or your actions is essential for successfully navigating a dynamic and complex social world.