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Evaluating the theory of executive dysfunction in autism

By Elisabeth L. Hill


In this paper studies of executive function in autism spectrum disorder are reviewed. Executive function is an umbrella term for functions such as planning, working memory, impulse control, inhibition, and shifting set, as well as for the initiation and monitoring of action. In this review, the focus will be on planning, inhibition, shifting set, generativity, and action monitoring. While it is known that these functions depend upon the frontal lobes, and particularly on prefrontal cortex, very little is known about neuroanatomical correlates of executive function in autism. The review acknowledges the complexity of investigating executive functions in autism, the possible influence of IQ on executive performance in these groups and the possibility of overlap between performance on tests of executive function in other neurodevelopmental disorders that are likely to involve congenital deficits in the frontal lobes, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Tourette's syndrome

Topics: C850, C840
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

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