Motor difficulties are associated with impaired perception of interactive human movement in autism spectrum disorder

A pilot study

Ebony R. Lindor, Jeroen J.A. van Boxtel, Nicole J. Rinehart, Joanne Fielding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: The ability to accurately perceive human movement is fundamental to social functioning and known to be influenced by one’s own motor skills. In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is ongoing debate about whether human movement perception is impaired. Given that motor skills vary considerably among these individuals, it may be that human movement perception is differentially affected as a function of motor proficiency. The aim of the current study was, thus, to explore whether individuals with ASD with and without motor difficulties differ in the way they visually attend to and perceive human movement. Method: Three groups of children aged 6 to 14 completed the study: an ASD group with motor difficulties (ASDMD), an ASD group without motor difficulties (ASDNMD), and a typically-developing control group (TD). All participants (N = 31) underwent eye-tracking while they viewed communicative interactions performed by two point-light actors. Primary analyses considered group differences in perceptual accuracy and gaze patterns. Results: Results revealed poorer perceptual accuracy in the ASDMD group compared to the ASDNMD and TD groups. Both ASD groups also exhibited gaze anomalies. Unlike the ASDNMD and TD groups who preferentially allocated their gaze to the actor initiating the interaction, the ASDMD group gazed at both actors equally. In contrast, the ASDNMD group shifted their gaze between the actors more frequently than the other groups. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that individuals with ASD and co-occurring motor difficulties employ an atypical attentional style that may hinder accurate human movement perception, whereas those without motor difficulties may employ a compensatory attentional style that facilitates typical perception. Improving our understanding of how attention and perception are affected across the ASD spectrum has the potential to provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie the core social deficits that define this disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-874
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

Motor Skills
Aptitude
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Light
Control Groups

Cite this

@article{747e69f8dcec4c74b3a9ec8aa81453a3,
title = "Motor difficulties are associated with impaired perception of interactive human movement in autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study",
abstract = "Introduction: The ability to accurately perceive human movement is fundamental to social functioning and known to be influenced by one’s own motor skills. In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is ongoing debate about whether human movement perception is impaired. Given that motor skills vary considerably among these individuals, it may be that human movement perception is differentially affected as a function of motor proficiency. The aim of the current study was, thus, to explore whether individuals with ASD with and without motor difficulties differ in the way they visually attend to and perceive human movement. Method: Three groups of children aged 6 to 14 completed the study: an ASD group with motor difficulties (ASDMD), an ASD group without motor difficulties (ASDNMD), and a typically-developing control group (TD). All participants (N = 31) underwent eye-tracking while they viewed communicative interactions performed by two point-light actors. Primary analyses considered group differences in perceptual accuracy and gaze patterns. Results: Results revealed poorer perceptual accuracy in the ASDMD group compared to the ASDNMD and TD groups. Both ASD groups also exhibited gaze anomalies. Unlike the ASDNMD and TD groups who preferentially allocated their gaze to the actor initiating the interaction, the ASDMD group gazed at both actors equally. In contrast, the ASDNMD group shifted their gaze between the actors more frequently than the other groups. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that individuals with ASD and co-occurring motor difficulties employ an atypical attentional style that may hinder accurate human movement perception, whereas those without motor difficulties may employ a compensatory attentional style that facilitates typical perception. Improving our understanding of how attention and perception are affected across the ASD spectrum has the potential to provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie the core social deficits that define this disorder.",
keywords = "attention, Autism, biological motion, human movement perception, motor skills",
author = "Lindor, {Ebony R.} and {van Boxtel}, {Jeroen J.A.} and Rinehart, {Nicole J.} and Joanne Fielding",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1080/13803395.2019.1634181",
language = "English",
volume = "41",
pages = "856--874",
journal = "Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology",
issn = "1380-3395",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "8",

}

Motor difficulties are associated with impaired perception of interactive human movement in autism spectrum disorder : A pilot study. / Lindor, Ebony R.; van Boxtel, Jeroen J.A.; Rinehart, Nicole J.; Fielding, Joanne.

In: Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, Vol. 41, No. 8, 2019, p. 856-874.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Motor difficulties are associated with impaired perception of interactive human movement in autism spectrum disorder

T2 - A pilot study

AU - Lindor, Ebony R.

AU - van Boxtel, Jeroen J.A.

AU - Rinehart, Nicole J.

AU - Fielding, Joanne

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - Introduction: The ability to accurately perceive human movement is fundamental to social functioning and known to be influenced by one’s own motor skills. In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is ongoing debate about whether human movement perception is impaired. Given that motor skills vary considerably among these individuals, it may be that human movement perception is differentially affected as a function of motor proficiency. The aim of the current study was, thus, to explore whether individuals with ASD with and without motor difficulties differ in the way they visually attend to and perceive human movement. Method: Three groups of children aged 6 to 14 completed the study: an ASD group with motor difficulties (ASDMD), an ASD group without motor difficulties (ASDNMD), and a typically-developing control group (TD). All participants (N = 31) underwent eye-tracking while they viewed communicative interactions performed by two point-light actors. Primary analyses considered group differences in perceptual accuracy and gaze patterns. Results: Results revealed poorer perceptual accuracy in the ASDMD group compared to the ASDNMD and TD groups. Both ASD groups also exhibited gaze anomalies. Unlike the ASDNMD and TD groups who preferentially allocated their gaze to the actor initiating the interaction, the ASDMD group gazed at both actors equally. In contrast, the ASDNMD group shifted their gaze between the actors more frequently than the other groups. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that individuals with ASD and co-occurring motor difficulties employ an atypical attentional style that may hinder accurate human movement perception, whereas those without motor difficulties may employ a compensatory attentional style that facilitates typical perception. Improving our understanding of how attention and perception are affected across the ASD spectrum has the potential to provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie the core social deficits that define this disorder.

AB - Introduction: The ability to accurately perceive human movement is fundamental to social functioning and known to be influenced by one’s own motor skills. In Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is ongoing debate about whether human movement perception is impaired. Given that motor skills vary considerably among these individuals, it may be that human movement perception is differentially affected as a function of motor proficiency. The aim of the current study was, thus, to explore whether individuals with ASD with and without motor difficulties differ in the way they visually attend to and perceive human movement. Method: Three groups of children aged 6 to 14 completed the study: an ASD group with motor difficulties (ASDMD), an ASD group without motor difficulties (ASDNMD), and a typically-developing control group (TD). All participants (N = 31) underwent eye-tracking while they viewed communicative interactions performed by two point-light actors. Primary analyses considered group differences in perceptual accuracy and gaze patterns. Results: Results revealed poorer perceptual accuracy in the ASDMD group compared to the ASDNMD and TD groups. Both ASD groups also exhibited gaze anomalies. Unlike the ASDNMD and TD groups who preferentially allocated their gaze to the actor initiating the interaction, the ASDMD group gazed at both actors equally. In contrast, the ASDNMD group shifted their gaze between the actors more frequently than the other groups. Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that individuals with ASD and co-occurring motor difficulties employ an atypical attentional style that may hinder accurate human movement perception, whereas those without motor difficulties may employ a compensatory attentional style that facilitates typical perception. Improving our understanding of how attention and perception are affected across the ASD spectrum has the potential to provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie the core social deficits that define this disorder.

KW - attention

KW - Autism

KW - biological motion

KW - human movement perception

KW - motor skills

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85068212909&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.mendeley.com/research/motor-difficulties-associated-impaired-perception-interactive-human-movement-autism-spectrum-disorde

U2 - 10.1080/13803395.2019.1634181

DO - 10.1080/13803395.2019.1634181

M3 - Article

VL - 41

SP - 856

EP - 874

JO - Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

JF - Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology

SN - 1380-3395

IS - 8

ER -