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Title page for ETD etd-04012005-125030

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kriete, Trenton Edward
Author's Email Address trent.kriete@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04012005-125030
Title Impaired Cognitive Flexibility and Intact Cognitive Control in Autism: A Computational Cognitive Neuroscience Approach
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
David C. Noelle Committee Chair
Robert E. Bodenheimer Committee Member
  • Autism
  • Cognitive Model
  • Model
  • Dopamine
  • Prefrontal Cortex
Date of Defense 2005-03-29
Availability unrestricted
In people with autism, the ability to enact a behavior in the presence of competing responses appears intact, while the ability to fluently adapt cognitive control in the face of changing task contingencies is impaired. In this paper, the Cross-Task Generalization model (Rougier et al., in press), which offers a formal account of the effect of dopamine on frontal cortex function, is used to capture performance of both normally functioning individuals and people with autism on a classic test of cognitive control, the Stroop task (Stroop, 1935), and one of cognitive flexibility, the Wisconsin Card Sort Test (Berg, 1948). By weakening the effect of the dopamine signal on frontal cortex, the model fits quantitative and qualitative results of autistic performance on these tasks and demonstrates the potential usefulness of computational cognitive neuroscience approaches in autism research.
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