Normal Movement Selectivity in Autism

Center for Neural Science, New York University, 6 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.05). 05/2010; 66(3):461-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.03.034
Source: PubMed


It has been proposed that individuals with autism have difficulties understanding the goals and intentions of others because of a fundamental dysfunction in the mirror neuron system. Here, however, we show that individuals with autism exhibited not only normal fMRI responses in mirror system areas during observation and execution of hand movements but also exhibited typical movement-selective adaptation (repetition suppression) when observing or executing the same movement repeatedly. Movement selectivity is a defining characteristic of neurons involved in movement perception, including mirror neurons, and, as such, these findings argue against a mirror system dysfunction in autism.

Download full-text


Available from: Cibu Thomas
    • "First, it has been demonstrated that socialcognition is associated with activity in this mirror neuron network in healthy individuals (Baird et al., 2011; Enticott et al., 2008b; Pineda and Hecht, 2009). Secondly, abnormal activation of the mirror system has been demonstrated in schizophrenia (Enticott et al., 2008a; Kato et al., 2011; McCormick et al., 2012; Mehta et al., 2013, 2014; Schurmann et al., 2007) and autism (Dapretto et al., 2006; Enticott et al., 2012; Martineau et al., 2010), although concerns have been raised about consistency of these findings (Dinstein et al., 2010; Hamilton, 2013; Horan et al., 2014; Theoret et al., 2005). Virtual-lesion or transient functional disruption studies (Pascual-Leone et al., 2000) using inhibitory low-frequency magnetic pulses over the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) (Avenanti et al., 2007; Jacquet and Avenanti, 2013; Keuken et al., 2011) have yielded further clues regarding the spatial and functional properties of this mirror neuron network. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Virtual lesions in the mirror neuron network using inhibitory low-frequency (1Hz) transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have been employed to understand its spatio-functional properties. However, no studies have examined the influence of neuro-enhancement by using excitatory high-frequency (20Hz) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) on these networks. We used three forms of TMS stimulation (HF-rTMS, single and paired pulse) to investigate whether the mirror neuron system facilitates the motor system during goal-directed action observation relative to inanimate motion (motor resonance), a marker of putative mirror neuron activity. 31 healthy individuals were randomized to receive single-sessions of true or sham HF-rTMS delivered to the left inferior frontal gyrus - a component of the human mirror system. Motor resonance was assessed before and after HF-rTMS using three TMS cortical reactivity paradigms: (a) 120% of resting motor threshold (RMT), (b) stimulus intensity set to evoke motor evoked potential of 1-millivolt amplitude (SI1mV) and (c) a short latency paired pulse paradigm. Two-way RMANOVA showed a significant group (true versus sham) X occasion (pre- and post-HF-rTMS motor resonance) interaction effect for SI1mV [F(df)=6.26 (1, 29), p=0.018] and 120% RMT stimuli [F(df)=7.01 (1, 29), p=0.013] indicating greater enhancement of motor resonance in the true HF-rTMS group than the sham-group. This suggests that HF-rTMS could adaptively modulate properties of the mirror neuron system. This neuro-enhancement effect is a preliminary step that can open translational avenues for novel brain stimulation therapeutics targeting social-cognition deficits in schizophrenia and autism. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015
  • Source
    • "Some studies have found evidence of reduced mirror system activity in autism (Oberman et al., 2005; Theoret et al., 2005), and others have found that mirror system dysfunction was associated with increased symptoms of social relating (Dapretto et al., 2006; Enticott et al., 2012). Other studies of mirror systems in autism, however, have not found evidence for reduced mirror systems (Dinstein et al., 2010; Enticott et al., 2013; Fan et al., 2010; Oberman et al., 2008). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dysfunctional mirror neuron systems have been proposed to contribute to the social cognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia. A few studies have explored mirror systems in schizophrenia using various techniques such as TMS (levels of motor resonance) or EEG (levels of mu suppression), with mixed results. This study aimed to use a novel multimodal approach (i.e. concurrent TMS and EEG) to further investigate mirror systems and social cognition in schizophrenia. Nineteen individuals with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 19 healthy controls participated. Single-pulse TMS was applied to M1 during the observation of hand movements designed to elicit mirror system activity. Single EEG electrodes (C3, CZ, C4) recorded brain activity. Participants also completed facial affect recognition and theory of mind tasks. The schizophrenia group showed significant deficits in facial affect recognition and higher level theory of mind compared to healthy controls. A significant positive relationship was revealed between mu suppression and motor resonance for the overall sample, indicating concurrent validity of these measures. Levels of mu suppression and motor resonance were not significantly different between groups. These findings indicate that in stable outpatients with schizophrenia, mirror system functioning is intact, and therefore their social cognitive difficulties may be caused by alternative pathophysiology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015
  • Source
    • "Several studies examining the mirror neuron system in individuals ASD, which has significant overlap with the AON, had initially reported MN dysfunction [Iacoboni & Dapretto, 2006; Oberman & Ramachandran, 2007; Rizzolatti & Fabbri-Destro, 2010]. However, our study adds to the mounting evidence of no between group differences [Bastiaansen et al., 2011; Dinstein et al., 2010; Enticott et al, 2013; Fan, Decety, Yang, Liu, & Cheng, 2010; Marsh & Hamilton, 2011; Raymaekers, Wiersema, & Roeyers, 2009]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social impairments in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may be in part due to difficulty perceiving and recognizing the actions of others. Evidence from imitation studies, which involves both observation and execution of an action, suggests differences, in individuals with ASD, between the ability to imitate goal-directed actions involving objects (transitive actions) and the ability to imitate actions that do not involve objects (intransitive actions). In the present study, we examined whether there were differences in how ASD adolescents encoded transitive and intransitive actions compared to typically developing (TD) adolescents, by having participants view videos of a hand reaching across a screen toward an object or to where an object would be while functional magnetic resonance images were collected. Analyses focused on areas within the action observation network (AON), which is activated during the observation of actions performed by others. We hypothesized that the AON would differentiate transitive from intransitive actions only in the ASD group. However, results revealed that object presence modulated activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus and supramarginal gyrus of the TD group, a differentiation that was not seen in the ASD group. Furthermore, there were no significant group differences between the TD and ASD groups in any of the conditions. This suggests that there is not a global deficit of the AON in individuals with ASD while observing transitive and intransitive actions. Autism Res 2015. © 2015 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Autism Research
Show more