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Investigation into the Mirror Neuron System’s contribution to imitation and autism.

Fradley, Kathryn (2016) Investigation into the Mirror Neuron System’s contribution to imitation and autism. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The mirror neuron system (MNS) is a cluster of neurons which activate when an individual performs an action, as well as upon observing another performing an action. This study aimed to expand upon two areas of research into the MNS: autism and imitation. This study consisted of 23 participants that engage firstly, in a visual presentation task then a questionnaire. Findings demonstrated that, firstly, which visual field the stimulus was exposed to influenced the participants’ reaction time of imitation. Secondly, reaction time was fastest when the right hand was observed and slowest when the left hand was observed, on the right visual field only. This lateralization effect was not significant for the left visual field. Thus, visual presentational effects upon imitation is an interaction, rather than a direct main effect. Additionally, there was no relationship between individuals’ reaction time and their autistic tendencies.

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