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Sensorimotor learning and control in autism spectrum disorders: The role of sensorimotor integration.

Foster, N (2019) Sensorimotor learning and control in autism spectrum disorders: The role of sensorimotor integration. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

The aim of the current thesis was to examine the role of sensorimotor integration during sensorimotor learning and control processes in autism spectrum disorders. Autistic participants were matched (IQ, age, gender) with control participants across three experimental chapters (chapters three-five) within the contexts of motor learning, imitation and observational practice. An additional control experiment (chapter two), which examined observational practice, was also completed in order to determine suitable data collection and analysis techniques. In Chapter Two it was confirmed that atypical biological kinematics properties are coded during observational practice via underlying sensorimotor processes, rather than spatial encoding of peak velocity via processes associated with stimulus- response compatibility. In Chapter Three it was observed that autistic participants can successfully form new internal action models, but their movements are characterised by increased variability in the spatial position of peak acceleration. In Chapter Four, it was shown that autism participants were able improve their imitation of atypical biological kinematics when presented in a fixed trial-order. Suggesting that in part imitation difficulties in autism may be related to differences in sensorimotor processing and integration. In Chapter Five it was observed that individuals with autism, like typically developed controls, can code atypical biological kinematics via observational practice. There are however potential differences in the processing of reafference when updating an existing internal action model. The findings of the current thesis will be summarised and critically evaluated with regards to the current literature. Theoretical implications will be considered, and potential future directions and research applications will be discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders; Motor learning; Motor control; imitiation; Observational practice; Sensorimotor Learning
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2019 11:40
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 11:40
DOI or Identification number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00010122
Supervisors: Hayes, S, Bennett, S and Causer, J
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122

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