Autism Journal Club

Predictive Action Perception from Explicit Intention Information in Autism

Greta Todorova will be presenting a paper by Hudson, Nicholson, McKenzie & Bach (2020) Zoom details: 953 6233 1120 Abstract Social difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may originate from an impaired top-down modulation of sensory information that prevents the spontaneous attribution of intentions to observed behaviour. However, although autistic people remain able to explicitly reason about others’ mental states, the effect of abstract intention information on perceptual processes has remained untested. We show that ASD participants (n=23) exhibit a predictive perceptual bias in the perception of other’s actions in response to prior knowledge of an actor’s intentions (“I’ll take it”, “I’ll leave it”), but not in response to the motion of the action itself (reach, withdrawal). Neurotypicals (n=23) exhibit a predictive bias in action perception due to both explicit high-level intention and low-level motion information. Perception in ASD is not immune from top-down modulation. However, the information must be explicitly presented independently from the stimulus itself, and not inferred from cues inherent in the stimulus.