Looking Back at the Next 40 Years of ASD Neuroscience Research

J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Dec;51(12):4333-4353. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-05095-5. Epub 2021 May 27.


During the last 40 years, neuroscience has become one of the most central and most productive approaches to investigating autism. In this commentary, we assemble a group of established investigators and trainees to review key advances and anticipated developments in neuroscience research across five modalities most commonly employed in autism research: magnetic resonance imaging, functional near infrared spectroscopy, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Broadly, neuroscience research has provided important insights into brain systems involved in autism but not yet mechanistic understanding. Methodological advancements are expected to proffer deeper understanding of neural circuitry associated with function and dysfunction during the next 40 years.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; EEG; MRI; Neuroimaging; PET; TMS; fNIRS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation