Japanese Psychological Research : Cognitive science approach to developmental disorders (avril 2013)

jeudi 18 avril 2013

Le numéro d’avril 2013 du Japanese Psychological Research est consacré à l’apport des sciences cognitives aux troubles du développement.

1. Murohashi H. Editorial : Cognitive science approach to developmental disorders : From “discrete diagnostic” to “dimensional”. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):95-98.

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2. Inui T. Toward a unified framework for understanding the various symptoms and etiology of autism and Williams syndrome. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):99-117.

To date, the unifying pathogenesis, or etiology, of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and Williams syndrome (WS) remains unknown, partly because of the broad variation of phenotypes and the heterogeneity of syndrome expression. In particular, in order to comprehend the etiological mechanisms of their characteristic behaviors, great importance should be placed on realizing how the neural networks of individuals with autistic disorders and WS are formed and work. As such, in this paper, cortical network abnormalities, based on data from a variety of research fields, are presented : psychopathological, histopathological, and clinicopathological studies, as well as structural (i.e., morphological) and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, including functional connectivity analysis. Based on the structure of the network, we propose an etiology for ASD and WS. Finally, we explain a variety of symptoms of these two disorders, including social and nonsocial dysfunction, based on our proposed neural network.

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3. Kikuchi Y, Senju A, Hasegawa T, Tojo Y, Osanai H. The effect of spatial frequency and face inversion on facial expression processing in children with autism spectrum disorder. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):118-130.

To investigate whether facial expression processing in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is based on local information of the stimuli, we prepared low spatial frequency (LSF) images with blurred facial features and high spatial frequency (HSF) images with rich facial features from broad (normal) spatial frequency (BSF) images. Eighteen children with ASD (mean age 11.9 years) and 19 typically developing (TD) children (mean age 11.4 years) matched on nonverbal IQ were presented these stimuli in upright and inverted orientations. The children with ASD had difficulty in processing facial expressions from the BSF and LSF images, but not from the HSF images. In addition, the BSF and HSF images elicited the inversion effect in the TD children, but not in the children with ASD. In contrast, the LSF images elicited the inversion effect in both groups of children. These results suggest that children with ASD are biased towards processing facial expression based on local information, even though their capacity to process facial expressions configurally is spared.

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4. Kasai T, Murohashi H. Global visual processing decreases with autistic-like traits : A study of early lateralized potentials with spatial attention. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):131-143.

Extensive research suggests that autistic individuals have deficits in global visual processing that may cause an attentional bias toward local details. This tendency has also been noted in nonclinical samples with high autistic-like traits, as measured using the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ). However, as top-down attention as an executive control can modulate early visual processing, it is still unclear whether this local processing bias is due to atypicality in bottom-up processing or a top-down attentional set. The present study explored this issue by examining event-related potentials (ERPs) in a sustained focal-attention task that involved bilateral stimulus arrays. In this task, a P1 spatial attention effect (at approximately 100–150 ms post-stimulus) reflects top-down attentional modulation of incoming sensory processing, and an N1 attention effect (150–200 ms) reflects obligatory attention-spreading based on perceptual grouping. The results showed that AQ scores were negatively correlated with the N1 attention effects for conditions in which bilateral stimuli were grouped with feature similarity and amodal completion. This finding supports the view that bottom-up processing in perceptual organization varies with autism spectrum.

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5. Takahashi H, Saito C, Okada H, Omori T. An investigation of social factors related to online mentalizing in a human-robot competitive game. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):144-153.

“Mentalizing” is the ability to attribute mental states to other agents. The lack of online mentalizing, which is required in actual social contexts, may cause serious social disorders such as autism. However, the mechanism of online mentalizing is still unclear. In this study, we found that behavioral entropy (which indicates the randomness of decision making) was an efficient behavioral index for online mentalizing in a human-human competitive game. Further participants played the game with a humanoid robot ; the results indicated that the entropy was significantly higher in participants whose gaze followed the robot’s head turn than in those who did not, although the explicit human-likeness of the robot did not correlate with behavioral entropy. These results implied that mentalizing could be divided into two separate processes : an explicit, logical reasoning process and an implicit, intuitive process driven by perception of the other agent’s gaze. We hypothesize that the latter is a core process for online mentalizing, and we argue that the social problems of autistic people are caused by dysfunction of this process.

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6. Robinson T, Tripp G. Neuropsychological functioning in children with ADHD : Symptom persistence is linked to poorer performance on measures of executive and nonexecutive function. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):154-167.

The present study compared the current intellectual and neuropsychological functioning of 55 children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD group) 4 years earlier with that of an age- and sex-matched control sample. The children in the ADHD group performed less well than the control group on measures of intellectual function, design fluency, spatial organization, and visual memory. Those children who continued to meet DSM-IV criteria for ADHD (persistent ADHD, n = 32) evidenced greater impairment than those showing some symptom remission (ADHD in partial remission, n = 23). These data confirm the presence of neuropsychological deficits in late childhood/early adolescence among those previously diagnosed with ADHD. The data also suggest that greater cognitive impairment is a feature of persistent ADHD.

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7. Kozima H. Cognitive granularity : A new perspective over autistic and non-autistic styles of development. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):168-174.

Individuals with autism generally show better performance on operating physical objects than in communicating with people. However, we lack a plausible model of autism that explains why their physical and social capabilities develop in separate and unbalanced ways. This paper investigates this question from the viewpoint of “cognitive granularity,” which refers to the size of the basic elements operable in one’s cognitive system. While it is constrained by one’s perceptual and motor resolution, cognitive granularity determines the level of abstraction at which one can efficiently predict and control the physical and social world. Recent findings in autism research, including preference for causal predictability and abnormalities in neuroanatomical density, suggest that individuals with autism have finer cognitive granularity ; they live in a different “Umwelt” from that which non-autistic people experience. The difference in cognitive granularity explains not only autistic individuals’ unbalanced development as well as their difficulty in understanding others’ minds, but also the spectrum of developmental styles in the entire population. Finally, from this unified perspective, we also discuss possible therapeutic interventions for autism.

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8. Toyomaki A, Murohashi H. “Salience network” dysfunction hypothesis in autism spectrum disorders. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):175-185.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Although most patients with ASD show sensory abnormalities such as hyperesthesia and hypoesthesia, its relation to social cognition has not been well studied. Recently, a salience network (SN) dysfunction hypothesis of ASD has been proposed. This neuroscientific hypothesis might explain how a SN integrating external sensory stimuli with internal states mediates interactions between large-scale networks involved in externally and internally oriented cognitive processing. In the brain of patients with ASD, areas of the SN, including the anterior insula, become dysfunctional, which results in difficulty in operating social cognition and self-referential processing. Here we discuss the controversial points and future directions of this hypothesis.

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9. Snowling MJ, Hulme C. Children’s reading impairments : From theory to practice. Japanese Psychological Research ;2013 ;55(2):186-202.

This paper outlines the nature and characteristics of children’s reading disorders and considers current ideas about the definitions of dyslexia and reading comprehension impairment. We argue that reading skills show continuous variations within the population, making the diagnostic “cut-offs” used in the identification of reading disorders essentially arbitrary. We argue that there is a considerable overlap between children’s reading and language disorders and discuss methods for the early identification of children’s reading disorders. We argue that interventions for reading disorders need to be evidence based, and review the evidence for the effectiveness of current approaches to intervention. We conclude by considering the extent to which learning to read in different languages may depend on some universal cognitive principles, as well as processes that may differ between alphabetic and nonalphabetic writing systems.

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