Social phobia linked to autism and schizophrenia

December 11, 2017, Swinburne University of Technology
Social phobia linked to autism and schizophrenia
People who struggle with social situations may process social information inefficiently.

New Swinburne research shows that people who find social situations difficult tend to have similar brain responses to those with schizophrenia or autism.

The research, published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, found the areas of the that show increased response when exposed to unexpected speech sounds or 'phonemes' are associated with the processing of social information and linked with spectrum conditions such as or .

"This suggests that for people who find difficult, their brain may be processing inefficiently," says lead researcher and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Talitha Ford.

"Autism and schizophrenia are multi-dimensional and spectrum conditions, which means they have varying degrees of many different symptoms, so much so, these symptoms present as non-clinical traits in the general population," she says.

She explains that key features of both conditions are interpersonal and social difficulties, and different brain responses to changes in the environment.

"This study shows that brain responses to changes in the environment might be more closely related to the interpersonal and social difficulties experienced by those with schizophrenia and autism."

Understanding brain responses

Dr Ford says studying the associated with behaviours related to clinical conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia, allows scientists to add to the growing understanding of the processes that drive these behaviours.

"Increasing the understanding of the relationship between clinical behaviours and brain response helps scientists and clinicians develop innovative and efficient early detection, prevention and treatment options for patients with these conditions," she says.

The next step

Dr Ford hopes to further investigate the relationship between social cognition and brain response through the use of different neuroimaging techniques and measures of social skills.

"We also hope to extend this research to investigate these relationships in people with clinical conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia," she says.

Explore further: Study examines brain activity and anxiety symptoms in youth with autism spectrum disorder

More information: Talitha C. Ford et al. Magnetoencephalography reveals an increased non-target P3a, but not target P3b, that is associated with high non-clinical psychosocial deficits, Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2017.11.012

Related Stories

Study examines brain activity and anxiety symptoms in youth with autism spectrum disorder

December 6, 2017
The error-related negativity (ERN) is a brain signal response to errors that is thought to reflect threat sensitivity and has been implicated in anxiety disorders in individuals without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A new ...

Genes affecting our communication skills relate to genes for psychiatric disorder

January 3, 2017
By screening thousands of individuals, an international team led by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, the University of Bristol, the Broad Institute and the iPSYCH consortium has provided new ...

Study compares traits of autism, schizophrenia

February 27, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A UT Dallas professor is studying the differences between the social impairments found in autism and schizophrenia to help develop better treatments for people with both disorders.

Brain anatomy differs in people with 22q genetic risk for schizophrenia, autism

May 24, 2017
A UCLA study characterizes, for the first time, brain differences between people with a specific genetic risk for schizophrenia and those at risk for autism, and the findings could help explain the biological underpinnings ...

Interventions for anxiety may help people with autism spectrum disorder

August 30, 2017
A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports that anxiety occurring in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) shares similar brain mechanisms as anxiety alone. Led by Drs. John Herrington ...

Recommended for you

Autism spectrum disorder linked to shape of brain's cerebellum

July 11, 2018
Structural differences in the cerebellum may be linked to some aspects of autism spectrum disorder, according to a neuroimaging study from Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC).

Autistic people do want to socialize, they may just show it differently

June 28, 2018
A new paper led by the University of Virginia and just published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences is pushing back hard on the notion that people with autism are not interested in socializing.

Researchers discover promising treatment for genetic form of autism spectrum disorder

June 26, 2018
It may soon be possible to reverse a genetic form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by using drugs initially developed to treat cancer.

CRISPR editing reduces repetitive behavior in mice with a form of autism

June 25, 2018
Scientists have used CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to lessen some autism symptoms in mice with a form of fragile X syndrome, the most common known single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder.

Mom's diabetes may be tied to baby's autism risk: study

June 25, 2018
(HealthDay)—Pregnant women who have any form of diabetes may face higher odds that their child could develop autism, a new study suggests.

Tackling bullying could help reduce depression in autistic teens

June 19, 2018
Teenagers with difficulties in social communication, including autism have higher rates of depressive symptoms, especially if they are being bullied.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.