Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1256–1262

The Implications of Social Neuroscience for Social Disability

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1514-z

Cite this article as:
McPartland, J.C. & Pelphrey, K.A. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1256. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1514-z


Social disability represents a unifying feature in the diverse group of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Social neuroscience is the study of brain mechanisms supporting interpersonal interaction. In this paper, we review brain imaging studies of the social brain and highlight practical applications of these scientific insights. Understanding of social brain mechanisms holds promise as a tool for defining meaningful subgroups of children with ASD to facilitate genetic analyses and to inform treatment selection. Because social brain systems emerge in infancy, social neuroscience may help to detect atypical development before symptoms manifest. This conceptualization of ASD is a hopeful one, as social brain systems remain malleable well into development and are thus amenable to targeted intervention.


Autism spectrum disorder Social neuroscience Translational neuroscience 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Child Study CenterNew HavenUSA

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