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Nat Neurosci. 2006 Jan;9(1):28-30. Epub 2005 Dec 4.

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

Author information

  • 1Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, 90095, USA. mirella@loni.ucla.edu

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.

PMID:
16327784
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3713227
Free PMC Article

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