Abnormal imitation‐related cortical activation sequences in Asperger's syndrome

  title={Abnormal imitation‐related cortical activation sequences in Asperger's syndrome},
  author={Nobuyuki Nishitani and Sari Avikainen and Riitta Hari},
  journal={Annals of Neurology},
Subjects with Asperger's syndrome (AS) are impaired in social interaction and imitation, but the underlying brain mechanisms are poorly understood. Because the mirror‐neuron system (MNS) that matches observed and executed actions has been suggested to play an important role in imitation and in reading of other people's intentions, we assessed MNS functions in 8 adult AS subjects and in 10 healthy control subjects during imitation of still pictures of lip forms. In the control subjects, cortical… 
Lateralization of the Human Mirror Neuron System
The data indicate that visual and motor components of the human mirror system are not left-lateralized, and the left hemisphere superiority for language must be have been favored by other types of language precursors, perhaps auditory or multimodal action representations.
MEG premotor abnormalities in children with Asperger's syndrome: Determinants of social behavior?
Right hemisphere contributions to imitation tasks
Activity patterns suggest that the latter areas mediate the observed behavioural advantage of biological movements and indicate a predominant contribution of the right temporo‐frontal hemisphere to action observation–execution matching processes in intransitive movements, which has not been reported previously.
Dissociation of mirroring and mentalising systems in autism
Reactivity of the human primary motor cortex during observation of action
The reactivity of the human primary motor and somatosensory areas during observation of action using magnetoencephalography is studied and it is found that somatoensory evoked fields after tactile lip stimulation are somatotopically enhanced in primary somatosENSory cortex during silent lip-reading.
Intact imitation of emotional facial actions in autism spectrum conditions
Brain stimulation over Broca’s area differentially modulates naming skills in neurotypical adults and individuals with Asperger’s syndrome
The hypothesis that, in subjects with Asperger's syndrome (ASP), the dynamics of language‐related regions might be abnormal, so that repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over Broca’s area leads to differential behavioral effects as seen in neurotypical controls is supported.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation reveals two functionally distinct stages of motor cortex involvement during perception of emotional body language
It is suggested that fast orienting reactions to emotional cues—reflecting neural processing necessary for visual perception—occur before motor features of the observed emotional expression are simulated in the motor system and that distinct empathic dispositions influence these two neural motor phenomena.


Viewing Lip Forms Cortical Dynamics
Imitation, mirror neurons and autism
Normal movement reading in Asperger subjects.
In both groups viewing hand actions modified the neuromagnetic approximately 20 Hz oscillatory activity in the primary motor cortex to the same extent, impaired mindreading and imitation skills found in AS and autism do not seem to result from dysfunction of the motor cortex part of the action execution/observation system.
Temporal dynamics of cortical representation for action.
  • N. Nishitani, R. Hari
  • Biology, Psychology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2000
The results suggest that the left BA44 is the orchestrator of the human "mirror neuron system" and is strongly involved in action imitation, and probably contributes to the understanding of actions made by others.
Autism, Asperger syndrome and brain mechanisms for the attribution of mental states to animated shapes.
A physiological cause for the mentalizing dysfunction in autism is suggested: a bottleneck in the interaction between higher order and lower order perceptual processes.
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Five patients with Asperger syndrome with mild variant of autism with normal intellectual functioning were studied, and no task-related activity was found in this region of left medial prefrontal cortex, but normal activity was observed in immediately adjacent areas.
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There was greater activity during imitation, compared with observation of emotions, in premotor areas including the inferior frontal cortex, as well as in the superior temporal cortex, insula, and amygdala, which may be a critical relay from action representation to emotion.
Abnormal asymmetry in language association cortex in autism
In boys with autism, language and social/face processing–related regions displayed abnormal asymmetry, and these structural abnormalities may relate tolanguage and social disturbances observed in autism.