Autism spectrum/Mirror Neurons and Autism

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This material is taken from the Wikipedia's mirror neuron talk page and shows contention about the relationship between neuroscience and autism, and I have included my comment first:

I was an assistant teacher in an autism school for a period where I received two weeks of intensive training and even more intense experience--I was put into the lowest-functioning "home." Asperger syndrome, or AS, is only one component of autism, or ASD--short for autism spectrum disorder. To have ASD, you have to have multiple disabilities from the "spectrum," which includes an NOS, or a "wild card." Perhaps "matrix" is a better word to describe autism than spectrum because of the mass of possible interrelations between the component diseases. AS is not necessarily a component of ASD (though I suspect that the most violent cases have AS). AS therefore is not low-functioning autism; it is AS

--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 16:56, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

POV from the WP[edit | edit source]

Note: none of these contributors are on WV.--JohnBessa66.pngBessatalk 17:14, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Discussion[edit | edit source]

The current issue of w:Scientific American has two articles focusing on this topic. One of them states a theory that the basis of autism is mirror-neuron deficit.
--Jerzyt 14:11, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I am currently working in a lab that has just recieved funding to study mirror neurons in autism using fMRI, we postulate the same thing you read in Scientific American. Niubrad 01:37, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

And I work in another action understanding lab and we are very skeptical of the idea of a direct link between mirror neurons and autism. It is an appealing idea but the data simply is not strong enough yet.--AFdeCH 15:41, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

The idea may be simplistic, but it deserves enough consideration to either prove or disprove it. If it should be true, the prospect of a simple (fairly) therapeutic option for the treatment of the condition becomes at least conceptually feasible. --Anthony.bradbury 21:40, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it is definitely worth testing, but it hasn't been tested fully yet. AFdeCH 21:52, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
At times like these, I wish I didn't live on a sunny island in the middle of the Mediterranean, because there's not a lot of research into ASD taking place here. I could tell you a thing or two about it, because not only do I have Asperger, my little boy has high-functioning autism. So I would love a cure: not for myself, but for my little boy. I believe, without any proof obviously, that autism is caused by a problem with filtering data and turning it into information. Mirror neurons simply don't explain everything that I experience. So more research is indeed needed, but I think that mirror neurons will prove a dead end when it comes to ASD. SeverityOne (talk) 14:54, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I have AS diagnosed and I belong among those who don't really have much problem with empathy. I do, however, not seem to make connections about other feelings, other than the most obvious signs, as fast as my friends. It takes some time to figure it all out. The way I felt when I read the article is that the problems could lie in the very nature of mirror neurons themselves; not necessarily a deficiency. As people in the autism spectrum have different body language than other people, logically the mirror neurons would not give the right results when it tries to match a non-autistic person's body language with ones own. Similarly, I've heard that people not in the autism spectrum has the very same problem when they try to read our body language. I am no scientist in this field, so what do you think about this possibility? Note that I do not disregard a deficiency, just that there may be more to it. OnionKnight (talk) 13:32, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
One thing that this article really doesn't get into is that to computational neuroscientists like me, it seems very unlikely that mirror neurons are "hard-wired". Instead it seems much more likely that mirror responses are learned. How could this happen? Well, the simplest method would be for babies to learn by watching adults imitate them. It is very common for babies to spontaneously generate emotional expressions, such as a smile, and when this happens, nearby adults, especially the mother, have a strong tendency to smile back. So, what is needed is a mechanism built into the baby's brain that generates emotional expressions, observes the resulting facial changes in nearby adults, and then learns to associate the two things. If you think about it that way, you might see that there are lots of levels on which the mechanism can go astray. Looie496 (talk) 00:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

It's overdoing, how about reflex? you don't imitate what isn't worth.. i think that trail is more promising, interesting besides, if that changes macaque stemming neurologics. "the social cel", The archeological argument is not convincing, denying speech in early humans. It is more plausudible (eg.) a stable environmental concept operated until, an influence of moral or ethic character was the cause of major changes (rock-art), thriven by population factors(vertical population expanse). This decision/impact theory is plausible, at least historically, in the sense human societys have reacted diversely , and revolutionary when technological circumstances (firearms, agriculture) rooted their livelyhoods.Otoh., ofcourse its a highly functional and valuable cell-type80.57.242.54 17:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

As a person with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning type of autism, the SciAm article caught my eye, and I eagerly devoured it. Autism has several components, which can include sensory regulation malfunctions, but the one people seem most concerned about is the social atypicality.
I don't read human body language, and I have a hard time picking up subtle social clues; I also have a mild, undiagnosed prosopagnosia for human faces. Neurotypical people pick up body language on an instinctive level (or so they tell me), and respond on the same instinctive level. I have been asked why I don't smile, why I run funny, and why I have no fashion sense.
I am unlikely to successfully mate with a neurotypical human female, thus passing on my genes, because I evoke no sense of the Protector or the Stable Provider. In a primitive environment, I would not be a survivor. However, in urban/suburban civilization, a person's survival characteristics are different than in the rural or primitive areas. In the city, my brain is more highly prized than my hands.
It should be obvious that not all of the autism puzzle is based on different functioning of mirror neurons; however, it does seem plausible that the "self-absorbtion" that autism is named after is based on not innately recognizing others as "similar to me". --BlueNight 07:37, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
As someone who also has a (not officially undiagnosed) mild form of Asperger, I must say that I find the idea of mirror neurons solely being responsible for autistic spectrum disorders highly suspicious, to say the least. It doesn't explain why people with ASD can't stand triggers, such as touch or noise. To me, a lot of it comes down to a problem filtering information: knowing what's relevant, and what isn't. If I have to leave a room because everybody is talking/yelling at the same time, that is not explained by mirror neurons, because if anything, there should be less neural activity, not an overdose. So whoever is going to do research into this, please be advised that at least one person with an ASD thinks this theory is a lot of rubbish. :) SeverityOne (talk) 14:44, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


I don't think those who advocate a connection between mirror neurons and autism-spectrum disorders are saying that malfunctioning mirror neurons are solely responsible for ASDs. They're just saying they play a role, and have found, among other things, that there's a strong relationship between symptom severity and degree of activity deficits in mirror neuron systems in circumstances where they ought to be active. There's a good review article on research examining ASD/mirror neuron associations in Psychological Bulletin in March 2007. July191979 (talk) 02:54, 12 June 2008 (UTC)