AUTHORS: Bolton TAW, Jochaut D, Giraud AL, Van De Ville D

Human Brain Mapping, 39(6): 2391-404, June 2018


To refine our understanding of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), studies of the brain in dynamic, multimodal and ecological experimental settings are required. One way to achieve this is to compare the neural responses of ASD and typically developing (TD) individuals when viewing a naturalistic movie, but the temporal complexity of the stimulus hampers this task, and the presence of intrinsic functional connectivity (FC) may overshadow movie-driven fluctuations. Here, we detected inter-subject functional correlation (ISFC) transients to disentangle movie-induced functional changes from underlying resting-state activity while probing FC dynamically. When considering the number of significant ISFC excursions triggered by the movie across the brain, connections between remote functional modules were more heterogeneously engaged in the ASD population. Dynamically tracking the temporal profiles of those ISFC changes and tying them to specific movie subparts, this idiosyncrasy in ASD responses was then shown to involve functional integration and segregation mechanisms such as response inhibition, background suppression, or multisensory integration, while low-level visual processing was spared. Through the application of a new framework for the study of dynamic experimental paradigms, our results reveal a temporally localized idiosyncrasy in ASD responses, specific to short-lived episodes of long-range functional interplays.

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