Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 527–540

Goal-Directed Action Representation in Autism


    • Institut des Sciences Cognitives
    • Institut Jean-Nicod
  • Nelly Labruyere
    • Institut des Sciences Cognitives
    • ITTAC
  • Nicolas Georgieff
    • Institut des Sciences Cognitives
    • ITTAC

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0092-3

Cite this article as:
Zalla, T., Labruyere, N. & Georgieff, N. J Autism Dev Disord (2006) 36: 527. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0092-3

The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of individuals with autism to represent goal-directed behavioural actions. We compared the performance of subjects with autism (n=16), mentally retarded subjects (n=14) and normal healthy subjects (n=15) in a sequencing task consisted in arranging pictures of single events in their appropriate order so as to make coherent stories. Three types of actions were presented: (a) actions on objects; (b) actions on objects in a broader spatio-temporal context; (c) interactive actions. Autistic subjects were impaired in arranging sequences of actions on objects, as compared to both control groups. This impairment might contribute to explaining both executive deficits and difficulties in understanding others’ behaviour in autism.


Action knowledgesequencing errorsgoal detection

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006