Symptoms of autism

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Chapter 10 endnote 41, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

I don’t know about you, but to me, this collection of symptoms sounds just like autism.

The diagnostic symptoms of autism are consistent with my description of the discombobulated predictive brain:[1][2][3][4][5][6]

  • Lack of social interest
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Oversensitivity to sensory features of the world
  • Multisensory problems
  • Difficulties with anxiety and depression
  • Difficulties with affect regulation

Other challenges include:

  • Reduced statistical learning;[7][8][9][10] the social world is important for statistical learning related to language acquisition.[11][12]
  • Autonomic nervous system regulation.[13][14][15] Extreme temper tantrums and melt downs are common, and might be an attempt to regulate arousal (which children with autism have difficulty with).[16][17]
  • A small affective niche when it comes to other humans (even parents). For example, children who go on to be autistic do not anticipate being fed (as remembered by their parents); they do not anticipate being picked up by parents.[19][20]
  • Difficulties with concept learning,[24] particularly when situation is ambiguous or constantly changing.[5].
  • Alexithymia,[25][26][27][28] reduced empathy,[29] and impoverished emotion perception.[30].
  • Intolerance of uncertainty. An autistic brain is intolerant of and autonomically reactive to uncertainty.[31][32][33]


Notes on the Notes

  1. APA, 2013 [full reference to be provided]
  2. Mayes et al., 2011 [full reference to be provided]
  3. White et al., 2014 [full reference to be provided]
  4. Marco, Elysa J., Leighton BN Hinkley, Susanna S. Hill, and Srikantan S. Nagarajan. 2011. "Sensory processing in autism: a review of neurophysiologic findings." Pediatric Research 69 (5): 48R-54R.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dawson, Michelle, Laurent Mottron, and Morton Ann Gernsbacher. 2008. "Learning in autism." In Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference, edited by J. H. Byrne and H. Roediger, 759-772. New York: Elsevier.
  6. Tager-Flusberg, Helen, and Robert M. Joseph. 2003. "Identifying neurocognitive phenotypes in autism." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 358 (1430): 303-314.
  7. Scott-Van Zeeland, Ashley A., Kristin McNealy, A. Ting Wang, Marian Sigman, Susan Y. Bookheimer, and Mirella Dapretto. 2010. "No neural evidence of statistical learning during exposure to artificial languages in children with autism spectrum disorders." Biological psychiatry 68 (4): 345-351.
  8. Mayo, Jessica, and Inge-Marie Eigsti. 2012. "Brief report: A comparison of statistical learning in school-aged children with high functioning autism and typically developing peers." Journal of autism and developmental disorders 42 (11): 2476-2485.
  9. Preissler, Melissa Allen. 2008. "Associative learning of pictures and words by low-functioning children with autism." Autism 12 (3): 231-248.
  10. Solomon et al., 2011. [full reference to be provided]
  11. Meltzoff, Andrew N., Patricia K. Kuhl, Javier Movellan, and Terrence J. Sejnowski. 2009. "Foundations for a new science of learning." Science 325 (5938): 284-288
  12. Yu (2008) [full reference to be provided]
  13. Benevides, Teal W., and Shelly J. Lane. 2015. "A review of cardiac autonomic measures: considerations for examination of physiological response in children with autism spectrum disorder." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 45 (2): 560-575.
  14. Kushki, Azadeh, Ellen Drumm, Michele Pla Mobarak, Nadia Tanel, Annie Dupuis, Tom Chau, and Evdokia Anagnostou. 2013. "Investigating the autonomic nervous system response to anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders." PLoS One 8 (4): e59730.
  15. Quattrocki, E., and Karl Friston. 2014. "Autism, oxytocin and interoception." Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 47: 410-430.
  16. Georgiades, Stelios, Peter Szatmari, Eric Duku, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Susan Bryson, Wendy Roberts, Eric Fombonne et al. 2011. "Phenotypic overlap between core diagnostic features and emotional/behavioral problems in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41 (10): 1321-1329.
  17. Mazefsky, Carla A., John Herrington, Matthew Siegel, Angela Scarpa, Brenna B. Maddox, Lawrence Scahill, and Susan W. White. 2013. "The role of emotion regulation in autism spectrum disorder." Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 52 (7): 679-688.
  18. Kaiser, Martha D., Daniel Y-J. Yang, Avery C. Voos, Randi H. Bennett, Ilanit Gordon, Charlotte Pretzsch, Danielle Beam et al. 2016. "Brain mechanisms for processing affective (and nonaffective) touch are atypical in autism." Cerebral Cortex 26 (6): 2705-2714.
  19. Brisson, Julie, Petra Warreyn, Josette Serres, Stephane Foussier, and Jean Adrien-Louis. 2012. "Motor anticipation failure in infants with autism: a retrospective analysis of feeding situations." Autism 16 (4): 420-429.
  20. Fournier, Kimberly A., Cara I. Kimberg, Krestin J. Radonovich, Mark D. Tillman, John W. Chow, Mark H. Lewis, James W. Bodfish, and Chris J. Hass. 2010. "Decreased static and dynamic postural control in children with autism spectrum disorders." Gait & Posture 32 (1): 6-9.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Gulsrud, Amanda C., Laudan B. Jahromi, and Connie Kasari. 2010. "The co-regulation of emotions between mothers and their children with autism." Journal of Autism and Developmental disorders 40 (2): 227-237.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Raver, C. Cybele, Erika K. Blackburn, Mary Bancroft, and Nancy Torp. 1999. "Relations between effective emotional self-regulation, attentional control, and low-income preschoolers' social competence with peers." Early Education and Development 10 (3): 333-350.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Siller, Michael, and Marian Sigman. 2002. "The behaviors of parents of children with autism predict the subsequent development of their children's communication." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 32 (2): 77-89.
  24. Gastgeb, Holly Zajac, Mark S. Strauss, and Nancy J. Minshew. 2006. "Do individuals with autism process categories differently? The effect of typicality and development." Child Development 77 (6): 1717-1729.
  25. Lombardo, Michael V., Jennifer L. Barnes, Sally J. Wheelwright, and Simon Baron-Cohen. 2007. "Self-referential cognition and empathy in autism." PloS One 2 (9): e883.
  26. Bird, Geoffrey, and Richard Cook. 2013. "Mixed emotions: the contribution of alexithymia to the emotional symptoms of autism." Translational Psychiatry 3 (7): e285
  27. Samson, Andrea C., Oswald Huber, and James J. Gross. 2012. "Emotion regulation in Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism." Emotion 12 (4): 659-665.
  28. Moseley, Rachel L., Yury Shtyrov, Bettina Mohr, Michael V. Lombardo, Simon Baron-Cohen, and Friedemann Pulvermüller. 2015. "Lost for emotion words: What motor and limbic brain activity reveals about autism and semantic theory." NeuroImage 104: 413-422.
  29. Bird, Geoffrey, Giorgia Silani, Rachel Brindley, Sarah White, Uta Frith, and Tania Singer. 2010. "Empathic brain responses in insula are modulated by levels of alexithymia but not autism." Brain 133 (5): 1515-1525.
  30. Cook, Richard, Rebecca Brewer, Punit Shah, and Geoffrey Bird. 2013. "Alexithymia, not autism, predicts poor recognition of emotional facial expressions." Psychological Science 24 (5): 723-732.
  31. Buhr, Kristin, and Michel J. Dugas. 2009. "The role of fear of anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty in worry: An experimental manipulation." Behaviour Research and Therapy 47 (3): 216. As cited in Boulter, Christina, Mark Freeston, Mikle South, and Jacqui Rodgers. 2014. "Intolerance of uncertainty as a framework for understanding anxiety in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders." Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 44 (6): 1391-1402.
  32. Birrell et al., 2011. [full reference to be provided]
  33. Chamberlain et al., 2013. [full reference to be provided]