Body Constraints on Motor Simulation in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Massimiliano Conson, Antonia Hamilton, Francesco De Bellis, Domenico Errico, Ilaria Improta, Elisabetta Mazzarella, Luigi Trojano, Alessandro Frolli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental data suggested that mental simulation skills become progressively dissociated from overt motor activity across development. Thus, efficient simulation is rather independent from current sensorimotor information. Here, we tested the impact of bodily (sensorimotor) information on simulation skills of adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Typically-developing (TD) and ASD participants judged laterality of hand images while keeping one arm flexed on chest or while holding both arms extended. Both groups were able to mentally simulate actions, but this ability was constrained by body posture more in ASD than in TD adolescents. The strong impact of actual body information on motor simulation implies that simulative skills are not fully effective in ASD individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1060
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 16 2015


  • ASD
  • Development
  • Mental transformation
  • Motor imagery
  • Motor simulation
  • Proprioception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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