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Reward processing in autism

Edited by: Ralph Adolphs and Gabriel Dichter

An article collection in Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

This series presents theoretical and empirical papers focused on understanding autism from the perspective of reward processing deficits. Although the core symptoms of autism have not traditionally been conceptualized with respect to altered reward-based processes, it is clear that brain reward circuitry plays a critical role in guiding social and nonsocial learning and behavior throughout development. Additionally, brain reward circuitry may respond to social sources of information in ways that are similar to responses to primary rewards, and recent clinical data consistently suggest abnormal behavioral and neurobiologic responses to rewards in autism. This thematic issue presents empirical data and review papers that highlight the utility of considering autism from the perspective of reward processing deficits. Our hope is that this novel framework may further elucidate autism pathophysiology, with the ultimate goal of yielding novel insights with potential therapeutic implications.

This collection of articles has not been sponsored and articles have undergone the journal's standard peer-review process overseen by the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors. The Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors declare no competing interests.

View all article collections published in Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

  1. Editorial

    Reward processing in autism: a thematic series

    This thematic series presents theoretical and empirical papers focused on understanding autism from the perspective of reward processing deficits. Although the core symptoms of autism have not traditionally be...

    Gabriel Dichter and Ralph Adolphs

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:20

    Published on: 19 July 2012

  2. Research

    Abnormal social reward processing in autism as indexed by pupillary responses to happy faces

    Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) typically show impaired eye contact during social interactions. From a young age, they look less at faces than typically developing (TD) children and tend to av...

    Leigh Sepeta, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Mari S Davies, Marian Sigman, Susan Y Bookheimer and Mirella Dapretto

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:17

    Published on: 7 June 2012

  3. Research

    Preserved reward outcome processing in ASD as revealed by event-related potentials

    Problems with reward system function have been posited as a primary difficulty in autism spectrum disorders. The current study examined an electrophysiological marker of feedback monitoring, the feedback-relat...

    James C McPartland, Michael J Crowley, Danielle R Perszyk, Cora E Mukerji, Adam J Naples, Jia Wu and Linda C Mayes

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:16

    Published on: 31 May 2012

  4. Review

    New approaches to investigating social gestures in autism spectrum disorder

    The combination of economic games and human neuroimaging presents the possibility of using economic probes to identify biomarkers for quantitative features of healthy and diseased cognition. These probes span ...

    Kenneth T Kishida, Jian Li, Justin Schwind and Pendleton Read Montague

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:14

    Published on: 24 May 2012

  5. Research

    Adults with autism spectrum disorders exhibit decreased sensitivity to reward parameters when making effort-based decisions

    Efficient effort expenditure to obtain rewards is critical for optimal goal-directed behavior and learning. Clinical observation suggests that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may show dysregul...

    Cara R Damiano, Joseph Aloi, Michael Treadway, James W Bodfish and Gabriel S Dichter

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:13

    Published on: 21 May 2012

  6. Research

    Reduced social preferences in autism: evidence from charitable donations

    People with autism have abnormal preferences, ranging from an apparent lack of preference for social stimuli to unusually strong preferences for restricted sets of highly idiosyncratic stimuli. Yet the profile...

    Alice Lin, Karin Tsai, Antonio Rangel and Ralph Adolphs

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:8

    Published on: 17 May 2012

  7. Research

    Response of neural reward regions to food cues in autism spectrum disorders

    One hypothesis for the social deficits that characterize autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is diminished neural reward response to social interaction and attachment. Prior research using established monetary rew...

    Carissa J Cascio, Jennifer H Foss-Feig, Jessica L Heacock, Cassandra R Newsom, Ronald L Cowan, Margaret M Benningfield, Baxter P Rogers and Aize Cao

    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012 4:9

    Published on: 17 May 2012

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