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Sante Ment Que. Spring 2016;41(1):163-81.

[Social Cognition and the Sense of Agency in Autism: From Action to Interaction].

[Article in French]

Author information

1
Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal.
2
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal (CRIUSMM) - Département de psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal.
3
Centre de recherche de l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal (CRIUSMM) - Département de psychiatrie, Université de Montréal.

Abstract

The sense of agency (SoA) refers to the ability for one to detect that she is the cause of an action (Gallagher, 2000). The SoA is linked to motor control but also to self-awareness and could play an important role in social interactions. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by an alteration of social interactions and communication (DSM-5; APA, 2013) and is often seen as a primary deficit of functions specific to social cognition. However, motor control is also altered in ASD. We hypothesize that motor symptoms and social impairments could both arise from the same alteration of SoA. We first introduce theoretical models of implicit and explicit SoA (Synofzik et al., 2008) and present their neurofunctional basis. Then, we assess the clinical expressions of a disrupted SoA in different neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. In ASD, the atypical formation of internal models of action during motor acquisition (Haswell et al., 2009) could be at the source of an altered implicit SoA. A lack of fidelity of sensorimotor agency cues (Zalla et al., 2015) could also entail an alteration of explicit SoA. We discuss the main clinical expressions of ASD that may ensue from a disrupted SoA (difficulties in theory of mind and imitation, deficits in motor coordination and praxis, etc.).

PMID:
27570956
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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