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Neurobiological substrates of social cognition impairment in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Gathering insights from seven structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies

Neurobiological substrates of social cognition impairment in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: Gathering insights from seven structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies

Soliva, Joan CarlesCarmona, SusannaFauquet, JordiHoekzema, ElselineBulbena, AntoniHilferty, JoeVilarroya, Oscar

Abstract

Social cognitive neuroscience is beginning to unravel a neuroanatomy of social cognition, networks of brain regions especially involved in social cognition and social functioning. It is widely acknowledged that social functioning and social cognition are impaired in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although an impressive amount of neuroscientific research has been conducted in ADHD, little effort has been made to link those deficits in social cognition and functioning to the well-known brain abnormalities detected in structural and functional neuroimaging studies. We review seven functional and magnetic resonance studies conducted at our laboratory in ADHD samples during the last 5 years in order to scrutinize whether the putative neuroanatomic regions underpinning social cognition are affected in ADHD. The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the caudate nucleus, the ventral striatum, and the cerebellum are among those regions that displayed functional or morphometric abnormalities in our ADHD samples. The OFC is clearly involved in social cognition, and several features of OFC dysfunction may be related to the social cognition and function impairment in ADHD. In contrast to the OFC, the role of the caudate nucleus, the ventral striatum, and the cerebellum is elusive. However, on one hand, there is converging evidence from human and animal neuropsychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry that support the role of such areas in social cognition, mainly through its involvement in emotional processing. On the other hand, the morphometric and functional ADHD abnormalities in these regions could account for the impoverished social functioning and the deficient social cognition skills of ADHD children.