Pre-Conceptual Aspects of Self-Awareness in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Case of Action-Monitoring
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Two experiments were conducted to explore the extent to which individuals with autism experience difficulties in monitoring their own actions, both online and in memory. Participants with autism performed similarly in terms of levels and, importantly, patterns of performance to IQ-matched comparison participants. Each group found it easier to monitor their own actions/agency than to monitor the agency of the experimenter in a computerized task requiring individuals to distinguish person-caused from computer-caused changes in phenomenology. Both groups also showed a typical ‘self-reference effect’, recalling their own actions better than those of the experimenter. Both tasks appear to be reliable markers of underlying action monitoring ability, performance on the ‘Self’ conditions of each task being significantly associated, independent of verbal ability.