Statistical learning-extracting regularities in the environment-may underlie complex social behavior. 124 children, 56 with autism and 68 typically developing, ages 2–8 years, completed a novel visual statistical learning task on an iPad. Averaged together, children with autism demonstrated less learning on the task compared to typically developing children. However, multivariate classification analyses characterized individual behavior patterns, and demonstrated a subset of children with autism had similar learning patterns to typically developing children and that subset of children had less severe autism symptoms. Therefore, statistically averaging data resulted in missing critical heterogeneity. Variability in statistical learning may help to understand differences in autism symptoms across individuals and could be used to tailor and inform treatment decisions.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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