Indifference to Chaotic Motion May Be Related to Social Disinterest in Children With Autism

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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Children with autism spectrum disorder tend to have little interest in the presence, actions, and motives of other persons. In addition, these children tend to present with a limited and overly redundant movement repertoire, often expressing hyperfixation and aversion to novelty. We explore whether this is related to a more fundamental lack of appreciation for various temporal dynamics, including periodic, chaotic, and aperiodic motion structures. Seven children with ASD (age, gender, and height matched with children without ASD) were asked to stand and watch the motion of a visual stimulus displayed on a large (55") video monitor. Gaze and posture movements were recorded and assessed using cross recurrence quantification analysis for qualities of coordination, including rate and duration of bouts of coordination. Results showed that children with ASD do not express an affinity to chaotic motion of the stimulus in the same way as children without ASD. We contend that this indifference to chaotic motion is foundational to their general disinterest in biological motion.

Haworth was with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, at the time this research was conducted. Kyvelidou is with the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE. Fisher is with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE. Stergiou is with the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE.

Address author correspondence to Joshua Haworth at