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Neuron. 2001 Dec 20;32(6):969-79.

Mind blindness and the brain in autism.

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UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17 Queen Square, WC1N 3AR, London, United Kingdom.


Experimental evidence shows that the inability to attribute mental states, such as desires and beliefs, to self and others (mentalizing) explains the social and communication impairments of individuals with autism. Brain imaging studies in normal volunteers highlight a circumscribed network that is active during mentalizing and links medial prefrontal regions with posterior superior temporal sulcus and temporal poles. The brain abnormality that results in mentalizing failure in autism may involve weak connections between components of this system.

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