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Trends Cogn Sci. 2006 Oct;10(10):431-3. Epub 2006 Aug 23.

Failure to deactivate in autism: the co-constitution of self and other.

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Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, NeuroPsychiatric Institute, Brain Research Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


A new brain imaging study demonstrates that patients with autism have a strikingly different pattern of brain activity compared with control subjects. During cognitive tasks, cortical areas known as the "default state" network--areas that have been implicated in both self-referential processing and processing of socially relevant information--typically reduce their brain activity. In patients with autism, such a reduction was not observed. This new finding indicates that a core deficit in autism might be related to the construal of a sense of self in its relationship with others and will certainly generate exciting new research on the neurobiology of autism.

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