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Full Access Delayed influence of tactile–visual input on proprioception in autism: Evidence from the rubber hand illusion

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Delayed influence of tactile–visual input on proprioception in autism: Evidence from the rubber hand illusion

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In the rubber hand illusion, perceived hand ownership can be transferred to a rubber hand after synchronous visual and tactile stimulation. Perceived body ownership and self-other relation are foundational for development of self-awareness, imitation, and empathy, which are all affected in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We examined the rubber hand illusion in children with and without ASD. Children with ASD were initially less susceptible to the illusion than the comparison group, yet exhibited the effects of the illusion as time went on. Delayed susceptibility to the illusion may result from atypical multisensory temporal integration and/or an unusually strong reliance on proprioception. Children with ASD who display less empathy were significantly less likely to experience the illusion than those with more intact ability to express empathy. A better understanding of body representation in ASD may elucidate neural underpinnings of social deficits, thus informing future intervention approaches.

Affiliations: 1: Vanderbilt University, USA

In the rubber hand illusion, perceived hand ownership can be transferred to a rubber hand after synchronous visual and tactile stimulation. Perceived body ownership and self-other relation are foundational for development of self-awareness, imitation, and empathy, which are all affected in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We examined the rubber hand illusion in children with and without ASD. Children with ASD were initially less susceptible to the illusion than the comparison group, yet exhibited the effects of the illusion as time went on. Delayed susceptibility to the illusion may result from atypical multisensory temporal integration and/or an unusually strong reliance on proprioception. Children with ASD who display less empathy were significantly less likely to experience the illusion than those with more intact ability to express empathy. A better understanding of body representation in ASD may elucidate neural underpinnings of social deficits, thus informing future intervention approaches.

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/content/journals/10.1163/22134808-000s0014
2013-05-16
2016-12-07

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