I can tell them right now this is probably not worth studying. People with autism are overly aware of and mirror behavior - they just lack intuition and use memorization.
Clues about empathy’s mechanisms emerged in the early 1990s, when Italian neuroscientists studying the brains of macaque monkeys discovered a class of brain cells that fired both when the monkeys moved and when they observed another monkey in motion. De Waal and other experts propose that these monkey-see, monkey-do “mirror neurons” may be part of the cellular basis of shared feelings. Some researchers have gone on to study whether mirror neuron dysfunction helps explain the social challenges of people with autistic spectrum disorders.
This could be a rise in autism also.
Students’ scores on a measure of empathy called Empathic Concern declined between 1979 and 2009, with the steepest drop after the year 2000, she found. Other researchers reported a similar trend in 2012.
On the flip side, the empathy that is natural in people with autism is always altruistic as far as I can tell. Sometimes, those of us with intuitive empathy excuse ourselves from real action because the emotion itself feels like an action.
In its simplest form, as emotional contagion, empathy may fail to lead to altruistic action, because altruism often demands some sort of sacrifice
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