Metacognition of agency and theory of mind in adults with high functioning autism.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are neurodevelopmental conditions that severely affect social interaction, communication and several behavioural and cognitive functions, such as planning and monitoring motor actions. A renewed interest in intrapersonal cognition has recently emerged suggesting a putative dissociation between impaired declarative processes, such as autobiographical memory, and spared implicit processes, such as the sense of agency (SoA) in ASDs. However, so far only a few studies have investigated the integrity of SoA using tasks exclusively tapping reflective mechanisms. Since pre-reflective processes of SoA are based on the same predictive internal models that are involved in planning and monitoring actions, we hypothesized that pre-reflective aspects of SoA, as measured by the intentional binding effect, would be altered in adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorders, relative to volunteers with typical development. Here, in accordance with our hypothesis, we report reduced IB in participants with ASDs.