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Table 2 Summary of articles related to neurocognitive explanatory theories of Autism

From: The biopsychosocial processes in autism spectrum disorder

Author, date Conclusions Contributions
Pisula, 2010 [2] Despite the progress, none of the theories can fully explain the neurocognitive complexity and impact of symptoms characteristic of ASD on the development of the individual. Sheds light on the importance of research on the interaction between the various explanatory theories of autism among themselves and with individual characteristics.
Beaumont, Newcombe, 2006 [3] Difficulties in the attribution of mental states by adults with AS cannot be solely attributed to weak central coherence, highlighting the need of taking into account aspects related to the ToM deficit. Identifies differences between AUT and AS regarding the ToM and CC.
Miller, 2006 [4] Taking ToM into consideration the may help clinicians improve communication and language development of children. Demonstrates the importance of ToM for language development, contributing for the practice on speech therapy.
Silani et al., 2008 [5] Difficulties in emotional awareness are related to a hypoactivation of the anterior insula in individuals with AS and in people with TD, and particular difficulties in emotional awareness in individuals with AS are not related to impairments in self-reflection/mentalizing. Finds evidence that alexithymic symptoms are usually mediated emotional responses of second order.
Yang et al., 2009 [6] ToM is significantly correlated with inhibitory control. The performance on tasks of inhibitory control did not affect performance on ToM tasks. Explores the relationship between EF and ToM emphasizing the role of inhibitory control.
Bogte et al., 2008 [7] The cognitive flexibility in people with high-functioning autism is similar to people with TD in simpler tasks, but with longer response time. Investigates the relevance of slowness of cognitive processes in the functionality of the person with AUT.
Geurts et al., 2004 [8] Children with HFA exhibit more widespread and deep problems in EF tasks than children with ADHD. Reveals traits and executive dysfunctions shared among people with ADHD and HFA.
van Lang et al., 2006 [9] Adolescents with intellectual disability and comorbid ASD have CC weaker than people with equivalent age and IQ. Presents CC as a possible tool for differential diagnosis between Intellectual Disability with and without comorbid AUT.
Noens, van Berckelaer-Onnes, 2004 [10] A wealer CC implies problems in making sense of the world and hence of communication in people with ASD and intellectual disability. A better understanding of CC can assist in developing communicative focused individual interventions.
Happé et al., 2006 [11] Findings suggest deficits in EF are less severe and persistent in people with AUT than people with ADHD. Describes the existence of different profiles for the deficits in EF for people with ADHD and AUT and shows improvement of the deficits with age and intervention.
Luna et al., 2007 [12] While executive dysfunction is present throughout development, there is evidence for developmental progressions of EF in AUT. Highlights the need for age-specific interventions aiming at improving the cognitive abilities of individuals with AUT.
Robinson et al., 2009 [13] People with ASD exhibit a specific pattern of executive dysfunction, difficulties with planning, inhibition of prepotent responses and self-monitoring that can vary with age. Proposes a multidimensional notion of EF, with difficulties in planning, inhibition of prepotent responses and self-monitoring traits reflecting the ASD that are independent of IQ and verbal ability, and relatively stable throughout childhood.
López et al., 2008 [14] Did not find a significant positive relationship between global and semantic processing in children with autism and children with TD. Findings show that the CC is not a unitary construct, and may be composed of various skills, and indicate the possibility of subtypes of AUT.
Teunisse et al., 2001 [15] Although not universal in the AUT, a weak CC and poor cognitive flexibility are significantly more common in people with AS than in those with TD. The weak CC does not seem to be related to the severity of symptoms of AUT.
Belmonte, 2009 [16] ToM dysfunction is not universal in AUT, and is preceded in the development and predicted by abnormalities of attention, EF and language. Recognizes the importance of ToM, but emphasizes the relevance of other cognitive functions and social development.
Jarrold et al., 2000 [17] There is a relationship between individual differences in CC and the development of a ToM. Relates the development and interactions, in individuals with AUT, of apparently independent cognitive mechanisms.
Rajendran, Mitchell [18] Advances in different paths have led researchers to understand AUT as a complex condition dependent on individual, qualitative differences. Highlights how the understanding of AUT has changed over time and takes into consideration the possibility and implications of recognizing AUT as a neurodevelopmental condition rather than a disorder.