Neural markers of social and monetary rewards in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder
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González-Gadea, María Luz
Rivera Rei, Álvaro
Recent theories of decision making propose a shared value-related brain mechanism for encoding monetary and social rewards. We tested this model in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and control children. We monitored participants’ brain dynamics using high density-electroencephalography while they played a monetary and social reward tasks. Control children exhibited a feedback Error-Related Negativity (fERN) modulation and Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) source activation during both tasks. Remarkably, although cooperation resulted in greater losses for the participants, the betrayal options generated greater fERN responses. ADHD subjects exhibited an absence of fERN modulation and reduced ACC activation during both tasks. ASD subjects exhibited normal fERN modulation during monetary choices and inverted fERN/ACC responses in social options than did controls. These results suggest that in neurotypicals, monetary losses and observed disloyal social decisions induced similar activity in the brain value system. In ADHD children, difficulties in reward processing affected early brain signatures of monetary and social decisions. Conversely, ASD children showed intact neural markers of value-related monetary mechanisms, but no brain modulation by prosociality in the social task. These results offer insight into the typical and atypical developments of neural correlates of monetary and social reward processing.