Behavioral studies have been conducted to examine whether there are deficits in executive control of attention in ASD using cognitive paradigms such as the Go/No-Go and the Stroop tasks. Although executive control dysfunction may be attributed to frontal lobe abnormalities that have been observed in individuals with autism (Courchesne et al. 2001; Sparks et al. 2002), there is no consistent evidence supporting impaired inhibition, for example, on the Stroop task (Russell et al. 1999) or the Go/No-Go task (Ozonoff Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical and McEvoy 1994). One study, examining conflict processing, found no group differences in mean ACC
activation during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); however, the results indicated an abnormal time course of the hemodynamic response in this region during conflict conditions (Dichter and Belger 2007). Evidence also suggests abnormal functional connectivity between Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical ACC and other important regions in ASD (Welchew et al. 2005; Kana
et al. 2007). Abnormal behavioral performance in conflict processing, significant metabolic reduction in the ACC (Haznedar et al. 1997), and abnormal ACC activation Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical and connectivity together suggest a prominent role of the ACC in impaired executive control in ASD. Recent results suggest that the three attentional networks communicate with and influence one another to support the functional integration and interaction of attention (Fan et al. 2009). The overfocused or selective attention found in individuals with autism (Lovaas et al. 1979) may reflect abnormal interactions among attentional networks and core deficits of executive control, rather than a narrowed spotlight of visuospatial Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical attention. Most prior studies on this topic were conducted using separate tasks not designed to investigate interactions among attentional networks. Thus, interactions among attentional networks in individuals with ASD compared with
healthy controls (HCs) would seem to be a particularly important area of Idarubicin manufacturer examination. We examined the functions Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical and neural mechanisms of the three attentional networks in individuals with ASD using the Attention Network Test-Revised (ANT-R) (Fan et al. 2009), probing too attentional functions and allowing analysis of the functional integration and interaction of the attentional networks. We hypothesized deficits in the alerting, orienting, and executive control networks, and abnormal interaction among these networks in the ASD group relative to HCs. Method Participants All eligible participants underwent a diagnostic evaluation consisting of psychiatric, medical, and developmental assessment (see Table 1 for demographic and clinical data). Intelligence quotient (IQ) was measured using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, third edition (WAIS-III) (Wechsler 1997).