Advertisement

Do Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Condition Anticipate Others’ Actions as Goal-Directed? A Predictive Coding Perspective

  • Kerstin GanglmayerEmail author
  • Tobias Schuwerk
  • Beate Sodian
  • Markus Paulus
OriginalPaper

Abstract

An action’s end state can be anticipated by considering the agent’s goal, or simply by projecting the movement trajectory. Theories suggest that individuals with autism spectrum condition (ASC) have difficulties anticipating other’s goal-directed actions, caused by an impairment using prior information. We examined whether children, adolescents and adults with and without ASC visually anticipate another’s action based on its goal or movement trajectory by presenting participants an agent repeatedly taking different paths to reach the same of two targets. The ASC group anticipated the goal and not just the movement pattern, but needed more time to perform goal-directed anticipations. Results are in line with predictive coding accounts, claiming that the use of prior information is impaired in ASC.

Keywords

Autism spectrum condition Goal anticipation Cognitive processes Social cognition Predictive coding Eye-tracking 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The work was funded by a grant from the Volkswagenstiftung to B.S. and the German Research Foundation (DFG, Nr. PA 2302/6-1) to M.P. We thank all participants and their families for participating in this study. We are grateful to Tabea Schädel for her help in data acquisition and Emily Redekop for proofreading the manuscript. We thank Martin Sobanski (Heckscher-Klinikum gGmbH) and Martina Schabert (autkom) for their help with recruiting participants.

Author Contirbutions

KG participated in design, performed data- and statistical analysis, investigation and writing of the original draft, as well as coordination and participation in revision and editing. TS participated in design and data collection, supervision, as well as revising and editing the manuscript. BS participated in revising and editing, and funding acquisition. MP conceived of the study, participation in design, supervision, revising and editing the manuscript, as well as funding acquisition.

References

  1. Adam, M., Reitenbach, I., Papenmeier, F., Gredebäck, G., Elsner, C., & Elsner, B. (2016). Goal saliency boosts infants’ action prediction for human manual actions, but not for mechanical claws. Infant Behavior and Development, 44, 29–37.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2016.05.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes, K. A., Howard Jr, J. H., Howard, D. V., Gilotty, L., Kenworthy, L., Gaillard, W. D., & Vaidya, C. J. (2008). Intact implicit learning of spatial context and temporal sequences in childhood autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychology, 22(5), 563.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0894-4105.22.5.563.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 5–17.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005653411471.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bölte, S., & Poustka, F. (2006). Fragebogen zur sozialen Kommunikation (FSK). Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  5. Bölte, S., & Poustka, F. (2008). Skala zur Erfassung sozialer Reaktivität (SRS). Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  6. Braukmann, R., Ward, E., Hessels, R. S., Bekkering, H., Buitelaar, J. K., & Hunnius, S. (2018). Action prediction in 10-month-old infants at high and low familial risk for autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 49, 34–46.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2018.02.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brisson, J., Warreyn, P., Serres, J., Foussier, S., & Adrien-Louis, J. (2012). Motor anticipation failure in infants with autism: A retrospective analysis of feeding situations. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 16(4), 420–429.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361311423385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brock, J. (2012). Alternative Bayesian accounts of autistic perception: Comment on Pellicano and Burr. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(12), 573–574.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.10.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chambon, V., Farrer, C., Pacherie, E., Jacquet, P. O., Leboyer, M., & Zalla, T. (2017). Reduced sensitivity to social priors during action prediction in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Cognition, 160, 17–26.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.12.005.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Charlton, R. A., Barrick, T. R., Markus, H. S., & Morris, R. G. (2009). Theory of mind associations with other cognitive functions and brain imaging in normal aging. Psychology and Aging, 24(2), 338.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015225.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Clark, A. (2013). Whatever next? Predictive brains, situated agents, and the future of cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(3), 181–204.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X12000477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cusack, J. P., Williams, J. H., & Neri, P. (2015). Action perception is intact in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(5), 1849–1857.  https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4133-13.2015.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Diersch, N., Jones, A. L., & Cross, E. S. (2016). The timing and precision of action prediction in the aging brain. Human Brain Mapping, 37(1), 54–66.  https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Falck-Ytter, T. (2010). Young children with autism spectrum disorder use predictive eye movements in action observation. Biology Letters, 6(3), 375–378.  https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2009.0897.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Freitag, C. M., Retz-Junginger, P., Retz, W., Seitz, C., Palmason, H., Meyer, J., … von Gontard, A. (2007). Evaluation der deutschen Version des Autismus-Spektrum-Quotienten (AQ)—die Kurzversion. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 36(4), 280–289.  https://doi.org/10.1026/1616-3443.36.4.280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frith, U., Morton, J., & Leslie, A. M. (1991). The cognitive basis of a biological disorder: Autism. Trends in Neurosciences, 14(10), 433–438.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0166-2236(91)90041-R.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Geurts, H. M., & Vissers, M. E. (2012). Elderly with autism: Executive functions and memory. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(5), 665–675.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1291-0.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldberg, M. C., Lasker, A. G., Zee, D. S., Garth, E., Tien, A., & Landa, R. J. (2002). Deficits in the initiation of eye movements in the absence of a visual target in adolescents with high functioning autism. Neuropsychologia, 40(12), 2039–2049.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00059-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Gomot, M., & Wicker, B. (2012). A challenging, unpredictable world for people with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Psychophysiology: Official Journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, 83(2), 240–247.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2011.09.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gordon, B., & Stark, S. (2007). Procedural learning of a visual sequence in individuals with autism. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, 22(1), 14–22.  https://doi.org/10.1177/10883576070220010201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gredebäck, G., Stasiewicz, D., Falck-Ytter, T., Rosander, K., & von Hofsten, C. (2009). Action type and goal type modulate goal-directed gaze shifts in 14-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 45(4), 1190.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015667.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Haker, H., Schneebeli, M., & Stephan, K. E. (2016). Can Bayesian theories of autism spectrum disorder help improve clinical practice? Frontiers in Psychiatry, 7, 107.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00107.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Hamilton, A. F. D. C. (2009). Research review: Goals, intentions and mental states: Challenges for theories of autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50(8), 881–892.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02098.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Henrichs, I., Elsner, C., Elsner, B., & Gredebäck, G. (2012). Goal salience affects infants’ goal-directed gaze shifts. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 391.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00391.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Hughes, C. (1996). Brief report: Planning problems in autism at the level of motor control. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26(1), 99–107.  https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02276237.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Jensen, V. K., & Sinclair, L. V. (2002). Treatment of autism in young children: Behavioral intervention and applied behavior analysis. Infants & Young Children, 14(4), 42–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kourkoulou, A., Leekam, S. R., & Findlay, J. M. (2012). Implicit learning of local context in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(2), 244–256.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1237-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Krogh-Jespersen, S., Kaldy, Z., Valadez, A. G., Carter, A. S., & Woodward, A. L. (2018). Goal prediction in 2-year-old children with and without autism spectrum disorder: An eye-tracking study. Autism research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 11(6), 870–882.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1936.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krogh-Jespersen, S., Liberman, Z., & Woodward, A. L. (2015). Think fast! The relationship between goal prediction speed and social competence in infants. Developmental Science, 18(5), 815–823.  https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12249.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. Lawson, R. P., Rees, G., & Friston, K. J. (2014). An aberrant precision account of autism. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 302.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00302.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Lehrl, S. (2005). Mehrfachwahl-Wortschatz-Intelligenztest MWT- B. Balingen: Spitta Verlag.Google Scholar
  32. Lever, A. G., & Geurts, H. M. (2016). Age-related differences in cognition across the adult lifespan in autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research, 9(6), 666–676.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1545.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Lorch, R. F., & Myers, J. L. (1990). Regression analyses of repeated measures data in cognitive research. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16(1), 149–157.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-7393.16.1.149.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Mostofsky, S. H., Goldberg, M. C., Landa, R. J., & Denckla, M. B. (2000). Evidence for a deficit in procedural learning in children and adolescents with autism: Implications for cerebellar contribution. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 6(7), 752–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mottron, L., Dawson, M., Soulieres, I., Hubert, B., & Burack, J. (2006). Enhanced perceptual functioning in autism: An update, and eight principles of autistic perception. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 27–43.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-005-0040-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Murphy, P., Brady, N., Fitzgerald, M., & Troje, N. F. (2009). No evidence for impaired perception of biological motion in adults with autistic spectrum disorders. Neuropsychologia, 47(14), 3225–3235.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.07.026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Paulus, M. (2012). Action mirroring and action understanding: An ideomotor and attentional account. Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung, 76, 760–767.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-011-0385-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Paulus, M., Hunnius, S., van Wijngaard, C., Vrins, S., van Rooij, I., & Bekkering, H. (2011). The role of frequency information and teleological reasoning in infants’ and adults’ action prediction. Developmental Psychology, 47, 976–983.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0023785.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Paulus, M., Schuwerk, T., Sodian, B., & Ganglmayer, K. (2017). Children’s and adults’ use of verbal information to visually anticipate others’ actions: A study on explicit and implicit social-cognitive processing. Cognition, 160, 145–152.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.12.013.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Pellicano, E., & Burr, D. (2012). When the world becomes ‘too real’: A Bayesian explanation of autistic perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(10), 504–510.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2012.08.009.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Petermann, F. (2013). WAIS-IV. Deutschsprachige Adaption der Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–4. Version. Frankfurt: Pearson Assessment.Google Scholar
  42. Petermann, F., & Petermann, U. (2007). Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligenztest für Kinder—IV (HAWIK-IV). Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  43. Powell, P. S., Klinger, L. G., & Klinger, M. R. (2017). Patterns of age-related cognitive differences in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(10), 3204–3219.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3238-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Roser, M. E., Aslin, R. N., McKenzie, R., Zahra, D., & Fiser, J. (2015). Enhanced visual statistical learning in adults with autism. Neuropsychology, 29(2), 163–172.  https://doi.org/10.1037/neu0000137.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Ruffman, T. (2014). To belief or not belief: Children’s theory of mind. Developmental Review, 34, 265–293.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2014.04.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rutter, M., Bailey, A., & Lord, C. (2001). Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  47. Schmitz, C., Martineau, J., Barthélémy, C., & Assaiante, C. (2003). Motor control and children with autism: Deficit of anticipatory function? Neuroscience Letters, 348(1), 17–20.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3940(03)00644-X.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Schuwerk, T., & Paulus, M. (2015). Preschoolers, adolescents, and adults visually anticipate an agent’s efficient action; but only after having observed it frequently. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(4), 800–816.  https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2015.1061028.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Schuwerk, T., & Paulus, M. (2018). Action prediction in autism. In F. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of autism spectrum disorders. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  50. Schuwerk, T., Sodian, B., & Paulus, M. (2016). Cognitive mechanisms underlying action prediction in children and adults with autism spectrum condition. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(12), 3623–3639.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2899-x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Schwartz, S., & Susser, E. (2011). The use of well controls: An unhealthy practice in psychiatric research. Psychological Medicine, 41(6), 1127–1131.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291710001595.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Scott-Van Zeeland, A. A., McNealy, K., Wang, A. T., Sigman, M., Bookheimer, S. Y., & Dapretto, M. (2010). No neural evidence of statistical learning during exposure to artificial languages in children with autism spectrum disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 68(4), 345–351.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.01.011.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Senju, A., Southgate, V., White, S., & Frith, U. (2009). Mindblind eyes: An absence of spontaneous theory of mind in Asperger syndrome. Science, 325(5942), 883–885.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1176170.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Sinha, P., Kjelgaard, M. M., Gandhi, T. K., Tsourides, K., Cardinaux, A. L., Pantazis, D.,.. . Held, R. M. (2014). Autism as a disorder of prediction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(42), 15220–15225.  https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1416797111.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  55. Tewolde, F. G., Bishop, D. V. M., & Manning, C. (2017). Visual motion prediction and verbal false memory performance in autistic children. Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 11(3), 509–518.  https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.1915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Uithol, S., & Paulus, M. (2014). What do infants understand of others’ action? A theoretical account of early social cognition. Psychological Research Psychologische Forschung, 78(5), 609–622.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-013-0519-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Van de Cruys, S., Evers, K., Van der Hallen, R., Van Eylen, L., Boets, B., de-Wit, L., & Wagemans, J. (2014). Precise minds in uncertain worlds: Predictive coding in autism. Psychological Review, 121(4), 649.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037665.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Verhaeghen, P., & Cerella, J. (2002). Aging, executive control, and attention: A review of meta-analyses. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(7), 849–857.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0149-7634(02)00071-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. von Hofsten, C., Kochukhova, O., & Rosander, K. (2007). Predictive tracking over occlusions by 4-month-old infants. Developmental Science, 10, 625–640.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2007.00604.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. von Hofsten, C., Uhlig, H., Adell, M., & Kochukhova, O. (2009). How children with autism look at events. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(2), 556–569.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2008.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wechsler, D. (2003). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children-WISCIV. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  62. Wechsler, D. (2008). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-fourth edition (WAIS-IV). San Antonio: Pearson.Google Scholar
  63. Weiß, R. H. (2006). Grundintelligenztest Skala 2—Revision (CFT 20-R). Göttingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  64. Woodward, A. L. (1998). Infants selectively encode the goal object of an actor’s reach. Cognition, 69(1), 1–34.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(98)00058-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. World Health Organization (WHO). (1993). ICD-10: The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders: Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Geneva.Google Scholar
  66. Zalla, T., Labruyere, N., & Georgieff, N. (2006). Goal-directed action representation in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(4), 527–540.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0092-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Zalla, T., Labruyère, N., Clément, A., & Georgieff, N. (2010). Predicting ensuing actions in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Experimental Brain Research, 201(4), 809–819.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-009-2096-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Zeger, S. L., & Liang, K. Y. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis for discrete and continuous outcomes. Biometrics.  https://doi.org/10.2307/2531248.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  2. 2.Developmental PsychologyLudwig Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations