Dr. Bernier will explore a potential link between mirror neuron dysfunction and autism. Bernier's study is based on an early intervention designed to increase cognitive and social skills in children with autism. The study will include three groups of children who completed the trial — those with autism who received the intervention, those who didn't, and typically developing controls. Bernier plans to use electroencephalography to detect electrical activity associated with activated mirror neurons in the children while they observe and attempt to imitate a task. Comparing activation patterns among the three groups may indicate whether the intervention can help normalize mirror neuron function. Bernier hypothesizes that the dysfunction of mirror neurons in individuals with autism is caused by a lack of experience with social interaction. The social experience provided by the trial intervention might therefore help improve mirror neuron function in children with autism. Bernier plans to perform similar comparisons of mirror neuron activity between children from the three groups while they watch an adult perform hand and facial movements. He also plans to test the effect of non-biological stimuli, such as the movement of a toy, which children with autism tend to prefer over social interaction.