Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Diana Robins, PhD

Second Advisor

Tricia King, PhD

Third Advisor

Robin Morris, PhD

Abstract

The focus of the present study is to investigate the relationship between anxiety symptoms and neural outcomes of emotion processing in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and neurotypical controls. Eighteen child and adolescent participants (9 ASD, 3 female) completed questionnaires, behavioral testing, and an fMRI scan. Participants with ASD demonstrated significantly higher scores on parent-reported anxiety measures than typically developing (TD) participants; however, observed amygdala activations were not related to parent-reported anxiety scores and OFC activation was not observed during emotional stimuli for either group. ASD and TD participants demonstrated significant bilateral responses in the superior temporal sulcus during emotional stimuli. The current study was unable to demonstrate potential functional neuropathology in the amygdala as a mechanism for apparent differential diagnostic patterns in ASDs.

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