Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2008 Jan;61(1):101-15.

Emulation and mimicry for social interaction: a theoretical approach to imitation in autism.

Author information

  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA. Antonia.Hamilton@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

The "broken-mirror" theory of autism argues that dysfunction of the "mirror neuron system" is a root cause of social disability in autism. The present paper aims to scrutinize this theory and, when it breaks down, to provide an alternative. Current evidence suggests that children with autism are able to understand and emulate goal-directed actions, but may have specific impairments in automatic mimicry of actions without goals. These data are not compatible with the broken-mirror theory, but can be accounted for by a new model called EP-M. The EP-M model segments the mirror neuron system into an indirect, parietal route for goal emulation and planning (EP) and a direct occipital-frontal route for mimicry (M). This fractionation is consistent with neuroimaging and behavioural studies of the mirror neuron system in typical children and adults. I suggest that top-down modulation of the direct M route may be dysfunctional in individuals with autism, leading to abnormal behaviours on mimicry tasks as well as other social disabilities.

PMID:
18038342
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk