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Mol Autism. 2016 Nov 8;7:45. eCollection 2016.

Mimetic desire in autism spectrum disorder.

Author information

1
Centre de Recherche du Centre Intégré Universitaire du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Montréal, Canada ; Département de psychiatrie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada ; ASD Specialized Clinic, Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies, 7070 Blvd. Perras, Montréal, QC H1E 1A4 Canada.
2
Motivation, Brain and Behavior Team, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 75013 Paris, France ; Service de Psychiatrie, Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes, Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.
3
Motivation, Brain and Behavior Team, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, 75013 Paris, France ; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France.
4
Centre de Recherche du Centre Intégré Universitaire du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Montréal, Canada ; Psychology Department, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888 succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, H3C 3P8 Canada.
5
Centre de Recherche du Centre Intégré Universitaire du Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Montréal, Canada ; Département de psychiatrie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.

Abstract

Mimetic desire (MD), the spontaneous propensity to pursue goals that others pursue, is a case of social influence that is believed to shape preferences. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined by both atypical interests and altered social interaction. We investigated whether MD is lower in adults with ASD compared to typically developed adults and whether MD correlates with social anhedonia and social judgment, two aspects of atypical social functioning in autism. Contrary to our hypotheses, MD was similarly present in both ASD and control groups. Anhedonia and social judgment differed between the ASD and control groups but did not correlate with MD. These results extend previous findings by suggesting that basic mechanisms of social influence are preserved in autism. The finding of intact MD in ASD stands against the intuitive idea that atypical interests stem from reduced social influence and indirectly favors the possibility that special interests might be selected for their intrinsic properties.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Brain valuation system; Mimetic desire; Mirror neuron system; Restricted interests; Social cognition; Social influence; Social motivation

PMID:
27826407
PMCID:
PMC5100325
DOI:
10.1186/s13229-016-0107-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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