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Autism Assignment - Essay Example

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Mirror neurons are a particular kind of neuron that many animals, including people, have. They fire when an animal acts and, simultaneously, observes another animal doing the same action. The neuron then “mirrors” the behavior of the observing animal in its firing…
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Autism Assignment
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Autism Assignment

It is believed that, when functioning normally, mirror neurons help people acquire skills, mimic or imitate others, and help with language formation. But autistics, it appears, according to research done by Dapretto et al (2006) among others, have improper or non-existent mirror neuron activity. Dapretto et al (2006) gave autistic and non-autistic students a task to do while using an fRMI. Children with autism were able to do the chosen task just as well but showed no mirror neuron activity. This might mean that autistics learn how to do things, model things from others, and so on in very different ways. Further, the researchers found that activity in the area predicted social skills: The less activity, the worse the patients' social skills. It may be that part of the difficulty that autistics have relating to others, understanding their emotions, understanding why they don't do “rational” things, and other difficulties is the lack or improper functioning of these mirror neurons. The brain is simply less capable of handling the tasks that normal people take for granted, like being able to learn how to do something by watching other people doing it. ... Read More
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