Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Understanding the imitation deficit in autism may lead to a more specific model of autism as an empathy disorder

Tony Charman a1
a1 Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, Institute of Child Health, London, WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom


Preston & de Waal are understandably cautious in applying their model to autism. They emphasise multiple cognitive impairments in autism, including prefrontal-executive, cerebellar-attention, and amygdala-emotion recognition deficits. Further empirical examination of imitation ability in autism may reveal deficits in the neural and cognitive basis of perception-action mapping that have a specific relation to the empathic deficit.