Developmental depersonalization: The prefrontal cortex and self-functions in autism

Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):457-460 (2000)
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The human self model suggests that the construct of self involves functions such as agency, body-centered spatial perspectivity, and long-term unity. Vogeley, Kurthen, Falkai, and Maieret (1999) suggest that agency is subserved by the prefrontal cortex and other association areas of the cortex, spatial perspectivity by the prefrontal cortex and the parietal lobes, and long-term unity by the prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobes and that all of these functions are impaired in schizophrenia. Exploring the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the construct of self, the present article extends the application of the self model to autism. It suggests that in contrast to schizophrenia, agency and spatial perspectivity are probably preserved in autism, but that, similarly to schizophrenia, long-term unity is probably impaired. This hypothesis is compatible with a model of neuropsychological dysfunction in autism in a neural network including parts of the prefrontal cortex, the temporal lobes, and the cerebellum.



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