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Reduced Mimicry to Virtual Reality Avatars in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Forbes, PA; Pan, X; de C Hamilton, AF; (2016) Reduced Mimicry to Virtual Reality Avatars in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders , 46 (12) pp. 3788-3797. 10.1007/s10803-016-2930-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Mimicry involves unconsciously copying the actions of others. Increasing evidence suggests that autistic people can copy the goal of an observed action but show differences in their mimicry. We investigated mimicry in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within a two-dimensional virtual reality environment. Participants played an imitation game with a socially engaged avatar and socially disengaged avatar. Despite being told only to copy the goal of the observed action, autistic participants and matched neurotypical participants mimicked the kinematics of the avatars' movements. However, autistic participants mimicked less. Social engagement did not modulate mimicry in either group. The results demonstrate the feasibility of using virtual reality to induce mimicry and suggest mimicry differences in ASD may also occur when interacting with avatars.

Type: Article
Title: Reduced Mimicry to Virtual Reality Avatars in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2930-2
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2016 Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Imitation, Kinematics, Mimicry, Social cognition, Virtual reality
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1521872
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