Connections between Brain Abnormalities and Autistics’ Poor Social Skills

connections between brain abnormalities and autistics poor social skills 1

Autism is a very common type of pervasive developmental disorder that generates serious communicational and behavioral impairments. People with autism experience pronounced difficulties in interacting with others. Also, patients diagnosed with autism have poor imaginative skills, engage in repetitive, stereotype behaviors and manifest a strong resistance to change. In many cases, autism can also involve a certain degree of mental retardation.

Autism is considered to be the most severe childhood disorder. The overall number of cases of autism has known a pronounced increase in the last decades and the worldwide incidence of the disorder in children is continuously rising. Statistics indicate that autism affects around 1.5 million people in the United States alone. The prevalence of the disorder among the American population is expected to rise with 10 percent each year. For some reason, autism predominantly affects boys, rarely occurring in the opposite sex.

Although modern science has been trying to identify the factors responsible for the occurrence of autism, in present the exact causes of the disorder remain unknown. However, scientists believe that autism occurs due to genetic dysfunctions that interfere with the normal activity of the central nervous system.

Medical scientists suspect that the poor social interaction skills characteristic to people with autism are determined by inappropriate communication between certain areas of the brain. After conducting various experiments, scientists revealed that unlike normal people, autistics have a very low brain activity when they are involved in social situations. A recent experiment has proved the theory that autistic people’s poor social interaction skills are generated by weak connections between brain areas.

The experiment brought together 16 people diagnosed with autism and 16 people who didn’t suffer from the disorder. Scientists measured the brain activity levels and responsiveness of both normal and autistic people when they were shown a sequence of images. The subjects were asked to identify certain differences between a series of images that represented objects and human faces. Normal people revealed higher levels of brain activity when they were shown the images that represented human faces and lower levels of brain activity when they were shown representations of objects. By contrast, all autistic people who participated to the experiment revealed low levels of brain activity regardless of what the images represented.

The results of the experiment can be interpreted in many different ways. For many people, the experiment might suggest that there are abnormalities in some areas of the brain that prevent autistics from processing human features. However, medical scientists explain that autistic people’s actual problem is their inability to focus properly on human features rather than their inability to understand or recognize them. Scientists suggest that poor communication between some areas of the brain renders autistic people indifferent to others and hence, makes them socially inapt.

The experiment suggests a clear connection between brain dysfunctions and autistics’ poor social skills, revealing new interesting physiological characteristics of people with autism.

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