Representation of internal models of action in the autistic brain  

Haswell, Izawa, Dowell, Mostofsky, and Shadmehr (2009) Nature Neuroscience.         

Abstract  Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit deficits in motor control, imitation, and social function.  Does a dysfunction in the neural basis of representing internal models of action contribute to these problems?  To quantify representation of internal models, we measured patterns of generalization as children learned to control a novel tool. We found that the autistic brain built a stronger than normal association between self generated motor commands and proprioceptive feedback, but a weaker than expected association with visual feedback.  We found that the greater the reliance of internal models on proprioception, the greater the child’s impairments in social function and imitation.