Picking up on innuendo and social cues is a central component of engaging in conversation, but people with autism often struggle to determine another person's intentions in a social interaction. New research from Carnegie Mellon University sheds light on the neural mechanisms that are responsible for such social difficulties in autism, and on the workings of these social brain mechanisms in all of us.
According to the study, which is available on the Web site of the journal Social Neuroscience, inefficient pathways for transmitting information between certain brain regions are to blame. The research implicates abnormalities in the brain's inter-regional communication system, which connects the gray matter's computing centers. "The communication between the frontal and posterior areas of the social brain network is impaired in autism, making it difficult to understand the intentions of others" said the study's senior author, Marcel Just, the D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon.
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