Imitation, mirror neurons and autism


Authors
Justin Williams
University of North Texas
Abstract
Various deficits in the cognitive functioning of people with autism have been documented in recent years but these provide only partial explanations for the condition. We focus instead on an imitative disturbance involving difficulties both in copying actions and in inhibiting more stereotyped mimicking, such as echolalia. A candidate for the neural basis of this disturbance may be found in a recently discovered class of neurons in frontal cortex, 'mirror neurons' (MNs). These neurons show activity in relation both to specific actions performed by self and matching actions performed by others, providing a potential bridge between minds. MN systems exist in primates without imitative and ‘theory of mind’ abilities and we suggest that in order for them to have become utilized to perform social cognitive functions, sophisticated cortical neuronal systems have evolved in which MNs function as key elements. Early developmental failures of MN systems are likely to result in a consequent cascade of developmental impairments characterised by the clinical syndrome of autism.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
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

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,694
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Toward a Mechanistic Psychology of Dialogue.Martin J. Pickering & Simon Garrod - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):169-190.
Towards a Unified Science of Cultural Evolution.Alex Mesoudi, Andrew Whiten & Kevin N. Laland - 2006 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29 (4):329-347.

View all 45 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
62 ( #132,055 of 2,264,505 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #865,543 of 2,264,505 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature