People with autism have an altered sense of self



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New research has shown that people with autism have an altered perception of their self, which may explain some of the differences in social functioning.

The study, conducted by scientists from Anglia Ruskin University and published in the journal Autisminvolved a group of 51 adults, half with and one without autism.

This is the first time that responses to the body illusion that is changing itself, which simulates an out-of-body experience, have been measured in people with autism.

Research has revealed that, unlike neurotypical participants, people with autism do not feel "the illusion of the whole body". It is a test that leads people to perceive themselves as being outside their body and to identify with their own virtual "avatar" seen through glasses. of virtual reality.

Scientists also measured the size of the peripersonal space of the participants. It is the area of ​​space around our body that the brain deals with in a particular way because it allows us to interact with the outside world. They found that this area of ​​space, which defines the boundaries of oneself, is smaller in people with autism.

A smaller peri-personal space may explain some of the behaviors sometimes observed in autistic people, such as getting closer to others than social norms advocate, or having difficulty considering communications from outside their home community. personal space as directed towards them.

First author, Ph.D. Carl-lene Mul, a student, said, "For a long time, autism has been considered a self-disorder because some people with autism have difficulty accessing the memory of children. 39 themselves and to use personal pronouns such as "me" and "me".

"We wanted to know if more fundamental aspects of the self, namely the feeling that your body belongs to you and that your ego is inside of it, could be modified in people with autism . "

The lead author of the study, Jane Aspell, a senior lecturer in psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, added: "The results of our study show that the" corporeal "self is less flexible at home. people with autism and that their brain can combine sensory information about their body in a different way.

"These self-differences may be related, in part, to differences in self-treatment and social functioning problems, including the ability to empathize with others."


The brain activity shows the development of visual sensitivity in autism


More information:
Autism (2019). DOI: 10.1177 / 1362361319838950

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Anglia Ruskin University


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People with autism have an altered sense of self (April 3, 2019)
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