Guide The Shape of Autism

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Published in the Journal of Neuroscience , the study identified a posterior region of the brain whose size -- amount of gray matter -- is related to both cognitive rigidity and overly stable visual perception, two symptoms of autism that until now were only conceptually related.

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Mental inflexibility is a hallmark symptom of autism spectrum disorder ASD. This is best seen in restricted and repetitive behaviors, which are required for an ASD diagnosis.

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These behaviors can range from stereotyped and repetitive movements to repetitive thoughts. Perception in people with ASD can also be less flexible than in others. This can be understood by considering a line drawing of a transparent cube called a Necker cube. When looking at this drawing, the 3-D structure of the cube seems to spontaneously invert; the front becomes the back and then becomes the front again.

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This type of perceptual switching is called "bistable" perception. In the case of autism however, perception is often overly stable, and does not switch back and forth as often as it does in others. The team of researchers sought to find a physical neuroanatomical link between these two characteristics of autism. The first computer test assessed perceptual stability. Participants viewed a bistable image in which the front and back of a cylindrical shape switch back and forth.

The second test evaluated cognitive rigidity, and was designed specifically for this study. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News.

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A neuroanatomical substrate linking perceptual stability to cognitive rigidity in autism. ScienceDaily, 19 June Brain anatomy links cognitive and perceptual symptoms in autism. Retrieved October 8, from www. In a brain imaging study of adults, the severity of Early detection of Below are relevant articles that may interest you.

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The toddlers were shown a one-minute video on a split screen one side of the screen had a geometric pattern, the other had images of active children. Among the children who were diagnosed with autism, 40 percent spent more than half their time watching the geometric images , compared with 1.

Not all children with autism fixated on the geometric images the majority of the time, Pierce said. However, every child in the study who was fixated on the patterns for more than 69 percent of the time was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The reasons for this fixation aren't completely clear, but Pierce said it may have to do with some kids having restricted interests and a preference for repetition. However, parents shouldn't use geometric patterns to try to diagnose their children with autism, Pierce said.