Effects of Early Sensorimotor Disorder on Contextual Learning in Autism

Elsevier Masson
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Revue Europeenne de Psychologie Appliquee/European Review of Applied Psychology, 2006, Issue 2, 56 (4), pp. 247 - 252
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Cognitive explanations of autism often involve higher order cognitive functions developing late in childhood, such as theory of mind, executive functions or central coherence. In home videos of infants later diagnosed with autism, children display early signs of developmental disorders, for example impaired sensorimotor functions, attention to social and non-social stimuli and a lack of circadian regulation. We propose that these early signs need to be understood using a framework of context learning. It is also important to understand the role for context understanding in guiding the maturation of behavior. The role for inhibition in context learning as understood within learning theory provides us with helpful tools for this analysis. Our research aim is not to identify and explain early markers for autism, but to understand the cognitive developmental pathway set into rolling by an early impairment. This will help us understand the seemingly unrelated symptoms that define the complex syndrome of autism.
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