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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Aug;12(8):970-2. doi: 10.1038/nn.2356. Epub 2009 Jul 5.

Representation of internal models of action in the autistic brain.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have deficits in motor control, imitation and social function. Does a dysfunction in the neural basis of representing internal models of action contribute to these problems? We measured patterns of generalization as children learned to control a novel tool and found that the autistic brain built a stronger than normal association between self-generated motor commands and proprioceptive feedback; furthermore, the greater the reliance on proprioception, the greater the child's impairments in social function and imitation.

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