Authors
William Hirstein
Elmhurst College
Abstract
Several recent lines of inquiry have pointed to the amygdala as a potential lesion site in autism. Because one function of the amygdala may be to produce autonomic arousal at the sight of a significant face, we compared the responses of autistic children to their mothers’ face and to a plain paper cup. Unlike normals, the autistic children as a whole did not show a larger response to the person than to the cup. We also monitored sympathetic activity in autistic children as they engaged in a wide range of everyday behaviours. The children tended to use self-stimulation activities in order to calm hyper-responsive activity of the sympathetic (`fight or flight’) branch of the autonomic nervous system. A small percentage of our autistic subjects had hyporesponsive sympathetic activity, with essentially no electrodermal responses except to self-injurious behaviour. We sketch a hypothesis about autism according to which autistic children use overt behaviour in order to control a malfunctioning autonomic nervous system and suggest that they have learned to avoid using certain processing areas in the temporal lobes.
Keywords mindreading  autism  autonomic system
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Empathy and the Responsiveness to Social Affordances.Julian Kiverstein - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 36:532-542.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Autism as Mindblindness: An Elaboration and Partial Defence.Peter Carruthers - 1996 - In Peter Carruthers & Peter K. Smith (eds.), Theories of Theories of Mind. Cambridge University Press. pp. 257.
Reflections on 'Autistic Integrity'.Barbara Russell - 2012 - Bioethics 26 (3):164-170.
Autism: The Very Idea.Simon Cushing - 2013 - In Jami L. Anderson & Simon Cushing (eds.), The Philosophy of Autism. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 17-45.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-12-22

Total views
1,419 ( #3,029 of 2,448,233 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #84,101 of 2,448,233 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes