DEVELOPMENT OF INTENTIONAL CONTROL IN ASD. The Developmental Trajectory of Intentional Contra! in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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lndividuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show rigid behaviours and prefer sameness. lt has recently been suggested these rigid behaviours might be accounted for by less intentional control during the formation of intentions. In addition, ASD is a developmental disorder. So, the developmental trajectory of intentional control in individuals with ASD might also deviate from the trajectory in their typically developing peers. However, the developmental trajectory of intentional control and behavioural rigidity in individuals with ASD is currently unknown. This study was designed to investigate whether the developmental trajectory of intentional control in individuals with ASD deviates from the trajectory in typically developing (TD) individuals. We invited participants with ASD and typically developing participants between 12 and 30 years old that were matched on age, IQ, and gender to our study. Participants were asked to voluntarily choose between matching a stimulus on location or on shape in the voluntary task switching paradigm with double registration. The double registration procedure consists of a space bar press that participants perform when they have made their choice and marks the time of the formation of intentions. Reaction times, error rates, task choices, and electroencephalography (EEG) during task preparation were simultaneously recorded. The behavioural results showed no differences in developmental trajectory between individuals with ASD and TD individuals in the formation of task intentions or task execution. EEG markers seemed to show a less pronounced or even no development in individuals with ASD compared to their control peers. We suggest that individuals with ASD might experience less top down control later in life and discuss how less top down control might affect different preparatory processes in task switching.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen