Published by: Spectrum News
Written by: Barhar Gholipour
To understand another person’s point of view, children with autism need to actively suppress their own, a new study suggests1.
People with autism struggle with theory of mind — the ability to guess others’ thoughts and feelings. This may contribute to their social difficulties. The new work hints at the brain processes that underlie their difficulty.
The researchers used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to monitor brain activity in autistic and typical children, aged 8 to 12 years, as they performed a version of a classic theory-of-mind test. This test involves inferring someone else’s knowledge about the location of an object.
Typical children generally pass this test by the time they are 5. Most children with autism don’t pass until their teens, but those with high intelligence and strong language skills may figure it out sooner.
The autistic children in the new study perform the task as well as their typical peers do, but their brain activity differs: Unlike typical children, those with autism heavily recruit an area involved in inhibiting brain activity. Click here to read the rest of the story