Functional but Inefficient Kinesthetic Motor Imagery in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ya Ting Chen, Kuo Su Tsou, Hao Ling Chen, Ching Ching Wong, Yang Teng Fan, Chien Te Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Whether action representation in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is deficient remains controversial, as previous studies of action observation or imitation report conflicting results. Here we investigated the characteristics of action representation in adolescents with ASD through motor imagery (MI) using a hand rotation and an object rotation task. Comparable with the typically-developing group, the individuals with ASD were able to spontaneously use kinesthetic MI to perform the hand rotation task, as manifested by the significant biomechanical effects. However, the ASD group performed significantly slower only in the hand rotation task, but not in the object rotation task. The findings suggest that the adolescents with ASD showed inefficient but functional kinesthetic MI, implicating that their action representation might be preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-795
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Action representation
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Motor cognition
  • Motor imagery

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