Investigating how Explicit Contextual Cues Affect Predictive Sensorimotor Control in Autistic Adults

Tom Arthur, Mark Brosnan, David Harris, Gavin Buckingham, Mark Wilson, Genevieve Williams, Sam Vine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research suggests that sensorimotor difficulties in autism could be reduced by providing individuals with explicit contextual information. To test this, we examined autistic visuomotor control during a virtual racquetball task, in which participants hit normal and unexpectedly-bouncy balls using a handheld controller. The probability of facing each type of ball was varied unpredictably over time. However, during cued trials, participants received explicit information about the likelihood of facing each uncertain outcome. When compared to neurotypical controls, autistic individuals displayed poorer task performance, atypical gaze profiles, and more restricted swing kinematics. These visuomotor patterns were not significantly affected by contextual cues, indicating that autistic people exhibit underlying differences in how prior information and environmental uncertainty are dynamically modulated during movement tasks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date5 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Active inference
  • Autism
  • Prediction
  • Uncertainty
  • Virtual Reality
  • Volatility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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