Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 569–583 | Cite as

Subgroups of autistic children based on social behavior display distinct patterns of brain activity

  • Geraldine Dawson
  • Laura Grofer Klinger
  • Heracles Panagiotides
  • Arthur Lewy
  • Paul Castelloe


Two questions were addressed in the present study: (1) Do autistic and normally developing children exhibit regionally specific differences in electroencephalographic (EEG) activity? (2) Do subgroups of autistic children classified according to Wing and Gould's (1979) system which emphasizes degree of social impairment exhibit distinct patterns of EEG activity? Twenty-eight children with autism (5 to 18 years of age) and two groups of normally developing children (one matched on chronological age and the other on receptive language level) participated. EEG was recorded from left and right frontal, temporal, and parietal regions during an alert baseline condition. Compared to normally developing children, autistic children exhibited reduced EEG power in the frontal and temporal regions, but not in the parietal region. Differences were more prominent in the left than the right hemisphere. Furthermore, subgroups of autistic children based on Wing and Gould's system displayed distinct patterns of brain activity. Compared to autistic children classified as “active-but-odd,” “passive” autistic children displayed reduced alpha EEG power in the frontal region.


Temporal Region Social Behavior Brain Activity Distinct Pattern Baseline Condition 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geraldine Dawson
    • 1
  • Laura Grofer Klinger
    • 1
  • Heracles Panagiotides
    • 1
  • Arthur Lewy
    • 1
  • Paul Castelloe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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