Imitation, mirror neurons and autism

  title={Imitation, mirror neurons and autism},
  author={J Williams and Andrew Whiten and Thomas Suddendorf and David Ian Perrett},
  journal={Neuroscience \& Biobehavioral Reviews},
The role of familiarity and similarity in action understanding and imitation: investigating mirror neurons in Saudi children with ASD
Mirror Neuron Theory’ is a brain process model which is based on a direct-matching model, that encodes the motor features, mental states, and the goal of observed actions onto the observer’s own
A mirror up to nature
The Aberrant Contribution of the Mirror Neuron System in Autism Spectrum Disorder
It is concluded that individuals with ASD have a functional MNS that is irregularly inactive during social interaction due to abnormalities in the connectivity of their automatic top-down processing systems, and this inactivity contributes to the social deficits seen in ASD.
The Role of Mirror Neuron Dysfunction in Autism
Findings from behavioral research examining deficits in three areas of social cognition in individuals with autism: imitation, empathy, and theory of mind are reviewed; research implicating mirror neuron dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders is discussed; and the mirror neuron theory of autism is explored.
EEG study of the mirror neuron system in children with high functioning autism
Autism and the mirror neuron system: insights from learning and teaching
  • G. Vivanti, S. Rogers
  • Psychology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
It is argued that three distinct aspects of social learning are critical for advancing knowledge in this area: the mechanisms that allow for the implicit mapping of and learning from others' behaviour, the motivation to attend to and model conspecifics and the flexible and selective use of sociallearning.


A theoretical approach to the deficits in infantile autism
Abstract Deficits specific to the syndrome of infantile autism appear in imitation, emotion sharing, theory of mind, pragmatics of communication, and symbolic play. Current competing theories of
Imitation and identification in autism.
  • R. Hobson, A. Lee
  • Psychology
    Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines
  • 1999
This study was designed to test the prediction that adolescents with autism would have specific limitations in imitating the "style" of another person's actions, and found that in 3 out of 4 tasks, strikingly fewer participants with autism imitated with style with which the demonstrator executed the actions.
Another look at imitation in autism
Early-emerging procedural and gestural imitation abilities in children with autism were found to have intact basic-level gestural and procedural imitation and the status of imitation as a developmental precursor of a theory of mind was assessed.
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.
Social intelligence in the normal and autistic brain: an fMRI study
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) confirmed Brothers' prediction that the STG and amygdala show increased activation when using social intelligence, and provided support for the social brain theory of normal function, and the amygdala theory of autism.
Evidence for executive dysfunction in autism
Executive functions in young children with autism.
Two studies are presented that compare the performance of preschoolers with autism to a control group matched on age, and verbal and nonverbal ability, and found that children with autism initiated fewer joint attention and social interaction behaviors.
Executive function in parents of children with autism.
The hypothesis that a significant proportion of parents of autistic children show impaired executive function was supported and was significantly correlated with the interviewer's pre-test impression of social abnormality among parents of autism children.
The neuropsychology of autism.
It is proposed that cognitive theories are vital in neuropsychology, which seeks to make connections between brain abnormality and behavioural symptoms, to make autism one of the first developmental disorders to be understood at the neuropsychological level.
Imitation and pantomime in high-functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.
The results provided no support for the symbolic deficit hypothesis; meaning aided rather than hindered the performance of the group with autism, and partial support was found for the executive deficit hypothesis.