Diagnosing neurotypical disorders such as autism is done largely through interviews and behavioral observations.
But a study recently published in the journal PLoS One suggests that diagnoses can be made much more objectively by using functional MRI (fMRI) to read the brain patterns of a person's thoughts. Researchers performed f MRI scans on 34 young adults (17 with autism and 17 without) while the subjects thought about a range of different social actions such as "hug," "humiliate," and "kick." The study looked at the activation levels for each participant. Those who had autism had markedly different brain patterns from those without; researchers noted that a brain area associated with the way people view themselves did not activate in those with autism. To read more, click here.