A new article from BBC News mentions a study with not-surprising results if you are at all familiar with autism. Apparently, scientific brain scans have found that those with autism have brains that are less active during self-reflective thought. The main area of the brain studied was the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex (vMPFC), which is active during self-reflection.
from the article:
"The volunteers were asked to make judgements either about their own thoughts, opinions, preferences, or physical characteristics, or about someone else's, in this case the Queen.
By scanning the volunteers' brains as they responded to these questions, the researchers were able to visualise [sic] differences in brain activity between those with and without autism."
When a typical person was asked questions about the Queen, this area of his brain was less active than when asked about himself. In those with autism, the rates of activity when thinking about others or self were very similar. This shows a lack of awareness when thinking about the self as compared to thinking about others.
Children with autism can have problems socially if they do not distinguish between themselves and others. Many children with autism struggle with Theory of Mind and empathy. Social interactions can be tricky, because those with autism typically do not read non-verbal cues or motives well.
Theory of Mind, the idea that others have their own thoughts and actions different from your own, can be difficult for someone with autism to comprehend.
for more information: BBC News
photograph copyright Garrett Rooney, used under cc 2.0. Use of image does not indicate disability.