Self-Other Distinction and Social Cognition in ASD
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by marked impairments in social interactions. One of the most basic elements constituting the ability to interact with other social agents is to form representations of the self and the other while also being able to distinguish these representations. How crucial the ability for self-other distinction is for social interactions becomes obvious in the motor domain. Recent theories have emphasized that perceiving the actions of other agents activates corresponding motor representations in the observer, by means of the mirror neuron system (MNS: Gallese and Goldman 1998). When we see somebody else acting, this activates a motor representation similar to the one that is active when planning and executing the action oneself. Such a common representational basis of observed and executed actions makes it necessary, however, to distinguish these representations. Without self-other distinction, externally triggered motor...
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