Autism as a disorder of prediction

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in News, Uncategorized | No Comments

A new study from researchers at MIT have posited that Autism is rooted in the inability to make informed predictions from events and others’ behaviors. They theorize that the ritualistic and repetitive behaviors that those with Autism engage in (such as lining up toys, flapping hands, or rigid obsessiveness over routine) is a way to adapt to an environment that they see as random. While neurotypical individuals are able to make informed predictions about why people engage in various behaviors, those with Autism do not possess the requisite skills to understand such context. The researchers noted that this understanding may help explain why those with Autism perform better with skills that require structure, routine, and predictable rules, such as maths, drawing, or even music. This study may show clinical usefulness in that if clinicians can increase prediction skills in those with Autism, then they may be able to reduce their ritualistic and repetitive behaviors, symptoms that often interfere with normal individual and family functioning.