'People with autism do not daydream'
Social awkwardness seen in autism may be due to the failure of this "daydreaming" - which helps brain to process emotional thoughts.Updated: May 15, 2006 20:37 IST
In a new study scientists have revealed that people with autism do not daydream.
The resting period usually gives time for areas of the brain to process emotional and reflective thoughts.
The University of California research, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, compared brain scans of people with autism and those without.
The scientists said the typical social awkwardness seen in autism may be due to this failure of this "daydreaming" brain network.
This study sheds further light on the neurological factors involved in autism says Richard Mills, National Autistic Society
Several regions of the brain are highly active during these periods - including the medial prefrontal cortex, the rostral anterior cingulate and the precuneus.
This activity is suppressed when the brain is doing something which demands understanding, or another intellectual process.
It was found that the activity during rest periods seen in people who did not have autism was absent in those with the condition.
Richard Mills, director of research for the National Autistic Society and Research Autism, said: "The causes of autism are varied, complex and not yet fully understood.
"This study sheds further light on the neurological factors involved in autism and some of the possible implications for differences in the cognitive profile and social behaviour.
"Such findings will add to our understanding of this spectrum of conditions and it is hoped may also be utilised in the development of effective treatments and other approaches."
First Published: May 15, 2006 20:37 IST