The Virtual Classroom As a Tool for the Assessment of Automatic and Controlled Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Assessment of executive functioning in neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism) is a crucial aspect of neuropsychological evaluations. The executive functions are accomplished by the supervisory attentional system (SAS) and include such processes as inhibition, switching, and planning. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tends to present similarly to other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD). For example, ASD and ADHD may share similar etiological underpinnings in the frontostriatal system of the frontal lobe. Research on executive functioning in ASD has been mixed, thus the precise nature of executive functioning deficits in ASD remains equivocal. In recent years, simulation technologies have emerged as an avenue to ... continued below

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vii, 85 pages : illustrations

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Carlew, Anne R. August 2015.

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  • Carlew, Anne R.

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Assessment of executive functioning in neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., autism) is a crucial aspect of neuropsychological evaluations. The executive functions are accomplished by the supervisory attentional system (SAS) and include such processes as inhibition, switching, and planning. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) tends to present similarly to other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD). For example, ASD and ADHD may share similar etiological underpinnings in the frontostriatal system of the frontal lobe. Research on executive functioning in ASD has been mixed, thus the precise nature of executive functioning deficits in ASD remains equivocal. In recent years, simulation technologies have emerged as an avenue to assess neurocognitive functioning in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders impacting frontostriatal function. Simulation technology enables neuropsychologists to assess neurocognitive functioning within a testing environment that replicates environments in which the subject is likely to be in everyday life, as well as present controlled, real-world distractions, which may be better able to tap “hot” executive functions. A Virtual Classroom Continuous Performance Test (CPT) has been used successfully to assess attention in individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders impacting frontostriatal function. The current study aimed to investigate executive functioning in individuals with high functioning ASD using a new construct driven Stroop assessment embedded into the Virtual Classroom. Group differences were found in the Virtual Classroom with distractions condition, indicating individuals with ASD may be more vulnerable to external interference control than neurotypical individuals.

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vii, 85 pages : illustrations

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations represent a wealth of scholarly and artistic content created by masters and doctoral students in the degree-seeking process. Some ETDs in this collection are restricted to use by the UNT community.

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  • August 2015

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 4, 2016, 4:14 p.m.

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  • March 29, 2017, 10:27 a.m.

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Carlew, Anne R. The Virtual Classroom As a Tool for the Assessment of Automatic and Controlled Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders, thesis, August 2015; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc804860/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .