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A connectionist model of category learning by individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23299250     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show atypical patterns of learning and generalization. We explored the possible impacts of autism-related neural abnormalities on perceptual category learning using a neural network model of visual cortical processing. When applied to experiments in which children or adults were trained to classify complex two-dimensional images, the model can account for atypical patterns of perceptual generalization. This is only possible, however, when individual differences in learning are taken into account. In particular, analyses performed with a self-organizing map suggested that individuals with high-functioning ASD show two distinct generalization patterns: one that is comparable to typical patterns, and a second in which there is almost no generalization. The model leads to novel predictions about how individuals will generalize when trained with simplified input sets and can explain why some researchers have failed to detect learning or generalization deficits in prior studies of category learning by individuals with autism. On the basis of these simulations, we propose that deficits in basic neural plasticity mechanisms may be sufficient to account for the atypical patterns of perceptual category learning and generalization associated with autism, but they do not account for why only a subset of individuals with autism would show such deficits. If variations in performance across subgroups reflect heterogeneous neural abnormalities, then future behavioral and neuroimaging studies of individuals with ASD will need to account for such disparities.
Authors:
Alexander Dovgopoly; Eduardo Mercado
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-9
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1531-135X     ISO Abbreviation:  Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-9     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101083946     Medline TA:  Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY, 14260, USA.
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