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Facilitating sensorimotor integration via blocked practice underpins imitation learning of atypical biological kinematics in autism spectrum disorder

Foster, NC, Bennett, SJ, Causer, J, Elliott, D, Bird, G and Hayes, SJ Facilitating sensorimotor integration via blocked practice underpins imitation learning of atypical biological kinematics in autism spectrum disorder. Autism: the international journal of research and practice. ISSN 1362-3613 (Accepted)

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Abstract

The reduced efficacy of voluntary imitation in autism is suggested to be underpinned by differences in sensorimotor processing. We examined whether the imitation of novel atypical biological kinematics by autistic adults is enhanced by imitating a model in a predictable blocked practice trial order. This practice structure is expected to facilitate trial-to-trial sensorimotor processing, integration and encoding of biological kinematics. The results showed that neurotypical participants were generally more effective at imitating the biological kinematics across all experimental phases. Importantly, and compared to a pre-test where imitation was performed in a randomised (unpredictable) trial order, the autistic participants learned to imitate the atypical kinematics more effectively following an acquisition phase of repeatedly imitating the same model during blocked practice. Data from the post-test showed that autistic participants remained effective at imitating the atypical biological kinematics when the models were subsequently presented in a randomised trial order. These findings show that the reduced efficacy of voluntary imitation in autism can be enhanced during learning by facilitating trial-to-trial processing and integration of sensorimotor information using blocked practice.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1303 Specialist Studies in Education, 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Sports & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 13:36
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 13:36
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12140

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