Neurobiological foundations of multisensory processing integration in people with autism spectrum disorders: The role of the medial prefrontal cortex

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2014;8 DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00970


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Journal Title: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

ISSN: 1662-5161 (Online)

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

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Sonia eMartínez-Sanchis (University of Valencia)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 14 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This review aims to relate the sensory processing problems in people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD), especially Multisensory interaction (MSI), to the role of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) by exploring neuroanatomical findings; brain connectivity and Default Network (DN); global or locally directed attention; and temporal multisensory binding. The mPFC is part of the brain’s DN, which is deactivated when attention is focused on a particular task and activated on rest when spontaneous cognition emerges. In those with ASD, it is hypoactive and the higher the social impairment the greater the atypical activity. With an immature DN, cross-modal integration is impaired, resulting in a collection of disconnected fragments instead of a coherent global perception. The deficit in MSI may lie in the temporal synchronization of neural networks. The time interval in which the stimulation of one sensory channel could influence another would be higher, preventing integration in the typical shorter time range. Thus, the underconnectivity between distant brain areas would be involved in top-down information processes (relying on global integration of data from different sources) and would enhance low level perception processes such as over focused attention to sensory details.