Autism and schizophrenia: Similar perceptual consequence, different neurobiological etiology?

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):592-593 (2004)
Abstract
Phillips & Silverstein (P&S, 2003) propose that NMDA-receptor dysfunction may be the fundamental neurobiological mechanism underlying and associating impaired holistic perception and cognitive coordination with schizophrenic psychopathology. We discuss how the P&S hypothesis shares different aspects of the weak central coherence account of autism from both theoretical and experimental perspectives. Specifically, we believe that neither those persons with autism nor those with schizophrenia integrate visuo-perceptual information efficiently, resulting in incongruous internal representations of their external world. However, although NMDA-hypofunction may be responsible for perceptual impairments in schizophrenia and possibly autism, we suggest that it is highly unlikely that NMDA-hypofunction is specifically responsible for the autistic behavioral symptomology, as described by P&S in their target article.
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