Valentina Focaroli

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Motor impairments seems to play an important role in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Early detection of motor abnormalities during first years of life, may give important information regarding whether a child may receive a later diagnosis of Autism: for this reason an objective assessment of motor performance is(More)
Both human and non-human animals often face decisions between options available at different times, and the capacity of delaying gratification has usually been considered one of the features distinguishing humans from other animals. However, this characteristic can widely vary across individuals, species, and types of task and it is still unclear whether it(More)
Choosing to wait for a better outcome (delay choice) and sustaining the delay prior to that outcome (delay maintenance) are both prerequisites for successful self-control in intertemporal choices. However, most existing experimental methods test these skills in isolation from each other, and no significant correlation has been observed in performance across(More)
Delaying gratification involves 2 components: (1) delay choice (selecting a delayed reward over an immediate one) and (2) delay maintenance (sustaining the decision to delay gratification even if the immediate reward is available during the delay). Two tasks most commonly have explored these components in primates: the intertemporal choice task and the(More)
In the Delay choice task subjects choose between a smaller immediate option and a larger delayed option. This paradigm, also known as intertemporal choice task, is frequently used to assess delay tolerance, interpreting a preference for the larger delayed option as willingness to wait. However, in the Delay choice task subjects face a dilemma between two(More)
Recent research shows that motor difficulties are a prominent component of the behavioral profile of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and are also apparent from early in development in infants who have an older sibling with ASD (High Risk; HR). Delays have been reported for HR infants who do and who do not receive an eventual diagnosis of ASD. A growing body(More)
Action selection is extremely important, particularly when the accomplishment of competitive tasks may require access to limited motor resources. The spontaneous exploration of the world plays a fundamental role in the development of this capacity, providing subjects with an increasingly diverse set of opportunities to acquire, practice and refine the(More)
Displacement activities are behavior patterns apparently irrelevant to the situation in which they are performed that facilitate transitions between behavioral states. Scratching is one of the most commonly described displacement activities in primates and is related to frustration and anxiety. In chimpanzees scratching during cognitive tasks increases with(More)
In this work we propose a new method to study the development of motor planning abilities in children and, in particular, in children at high risk for ASD. Although several modified motor signs have been found in children with ASD, no specific markers enabling the early assessment of risk have been found yet. In this work, we discuss the problem posed by(More)