Understanding emotions in others: mirror neuron dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders.

TitleUnderstanding emotions in others: mirror neuron dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsDapretto, M, Davies MS, Pfeifer JH, Scott AA, Sigman M, Bookheimer SY, Iacoboni M
JournalNature neuroscience
Volume9
Issue1
Pagination28-30
Date Published2006 Jan
ISSN1097-6256
KeywordsAutistic Disorder, Brain Mapping, Child, Emotions, Empathy, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Neurons, Social Perception
Abstract

To examine mirror neuron abnormalities in autism, high-functioning children with autism and matched controls underwent fMRI while imitating and observing emotional expressions. Although both groups performed the tasks equally well, children with autism showed no mirror neuron activity in the inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis). Notably, activity in this area was inversely related to symptom severity in the social domain, suggesting that a dysfunctional 'mirror neuron system' may underlie the social deficits observed in autism.

Alternate JournalNat. Neurosci.