Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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With the aim of studying foundations for self-other relations and understanding, we conducted an experimental investigation of a specific aspect of imitation in children with autism: the propensity to copy self-other orientation. We hypothesised that children with autism would show limitations in identifying with the stance of another person. We tested 16 children with autism and 16 non-autistic children with learning difficulties, matched on both chronological and verbal mental age, for their propensity to imitate the self- or other-orientated aspects of another person’s actions. All participants were attentive to the demonstrator and copied her actions, but the children with autism were significantly less likely to imitate those aspects of her actions that involved movement in relation to her own vis-à-vis the child’s body. There were a number of children with autism who copied the identical geometric orientation of objects acted-upon. These results suggest that children with autism have a diminished propensity to identify with other people, and point to the importance of this mechanism for shaping self-other relations and flexible thinking.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): autism; imitation; intersubjectivity; self
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