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Psychol Bull. 1994 Sep;116(2):259-73.

Imitation and action in autism: a critical review.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


This article considers the evidence for an imitative deficit in autism and for the possible role of deficiencies in the representation of actions. An argument is developed for the claim that the imitation problem is diagnostic of a basic information-processing rather than a social dysfunction. Reviews are offered of the empirical literature on gestural imitation in autism (and other developmental disorders) and the more anecdotal evidence for problems in the domain of action development in autism. An account that may help to integrate these areas is suggested, as are directions for future research.

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