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J Autism Dev Disord. 2019 Mar 8. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-03964-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Do Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Condition Anticipate Others' Actions as Goal-Directed? A Predictive Coding Perspective.

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Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany.
Developmental Psychology, Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München, Leopoldstr. 13, 80802, Munich, Germany.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany.


An action's end state can be anticipated by considering the agent's goal, or simply by projecting the movement trajectory. Theories suggest that individuals with autism spectrum condition (ASC) have difficulties anticipating other's goal-directed actions, caused by an impairment using prior information. We examined whether children, adolescents and adults with and without ASC visually anticipate another's action based on its goal or movement trajectory by presenting participants an agent repeatedly taking different paths to reach the same of two targets. The ASC group anticipated the goal and not just the movement pattern, but needed more time to perform goal-directed anticipations. Results are in line with predictive coding accounts, claiming that the use of prior information is impaired in ASC.


Autism spectrum condition; Cognitive processes; Eye-tracking; Goal anticipation; Predictive coding; Social cognition


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