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09-09-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2016

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2/2016

Low Fidelity Imitation of Atypical Biological Kinematics in Autism Spectrum Disorders Is Modulated by Self-Generated Selective Attention

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 2/2016
Spencer J. Hayes, Matthew Andrew, Digby Elliott, Emma Gowen, Simon J. Bennett


We examined whether adults with autism had difficulty imitating atypical biological kinematics. To reduce the impact that higher-order processes have on imitation we used a non-human agent model to control social attention, and removed end-state target goals in half of the trials to minimise goal-directed attention. Findings showed that only neurotypical adults imitated atypical biological kinematics. Adults with autism did, however, become significantly more accurate at imitating movement time. This confirmed they engaged in the task, and that sensorimotor adaptation was self-regulated. The attentional bias to movement time suggests the attenuation in imitating kinematics might be a compensatory strategy due to deficits in lower-level visuomotor processes associated with self-other mapping, or selective attention modulated the processes that represent biological kinematics.

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