‘Theory of mind’ in the brain. Evidence from a PET scan study of Asperger syndrome

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


THE ability to attribute mental states to others (‘theory of mind’) pervades normal social interaction and is impaired in autistic individuals. In a previous positron emission tomography scan study of normal volunteers, performing a ‘theory of mind’ task was associated with activity in left medial prefrontal cortex. We used the same paradigm in five patients with Asperger syndrome, a mild variant of autism with normal intellectual functioning. No task-related activity was found in this region, but normal activity was observed in immediately adjacent areas. This result suggests that a highly circumscribed region of left medial prefrontal cortex is a crucial component of the brain system that underlies the normal understanding of other minds.

    loading  Loading Related Articles