Increased grey matter volume of the right superior temporal gyrus in healthy children with autistic cognitive style: A VBM study

Akiko Kobayashi, Susumu Yokota, Hikaru Takeuchi, Kohei Asano, Michiko Asano, Yuko Sassa, Yasuyuki Taki, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The empathizing–systemizing model describes human cognitive style using empathizing (the drive to identify another's mental state and respond appropriately) and systemizing (the drive to assess or construct rule-based systems). ‘Brain type’ was envisioned to explain individual differences in cognitive style based on the discrepancy of the two drives. In this model, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a neurodevelopmental disorder, have extremely stronger systemizing. Revealing the underlying mechanisms of individual differences in cognitive style might contribute to elucidation of the pathology of ASD. We used voxel-based morphometry to compare the brain structures among the brain types (those who have stronger empathizing, those who have equally stronger drive to both, and those who have stronger systemizing) in 207 healthy children (age range: 5–15). Results showed that children with stronger systemizing had significantly greater grey matter volume of the right superior temporal gyrus (rSTG) than the others. The brain region, a distinctive brain structure of those with stronger systemizing, was overlapped with that of children with ASD. The rSTG is involved in detailed perceptual processing in social cognition, which is partially related to stronger systemizing. Our results contribute to elucidation of the underlying mechanisms of individual differences in cognitive style.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105514
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

Keywords

  • Children
  • Cognitive style
  • Empathizing
  • Systemizing
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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