Measuring the prediction of observed actions using an occlusion paradigm: Comparing autistic and non‐autistic adults

Emma Gowen, Ellen Poliakoff, Hayley Shepherd, Waltraud Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Action prediction involves observing and predicting the actions of others and plays an important role in social cognition and interacting with others. It is thought to use simulation, whereby the observers use their own motor system to predict the observed actions. As individuals diagnosed with autism are characterized by difficulties understanding the actions of others and motor coordination issues, it is possible that action prediction ability is altered in this population. This study compared action prediction ability between 20 autistic and 22 non-autistic adults using an occlusion paradigm. Participants watched different videos of a female actor carrying out everyday actions. During each video, the action was transiently occluded by a gray rectangle for 1000 ms. During occlusions, the video was allowed to continue as normal or was moved forward (i.e., appearing to continue too far ahead) or moved backwards (i.e., appearing to continue too far behind). Participants were asked to indicate after each occlusion whether the action continued with the correct timing or was too far ahead/behind. Autistic individuals were less accurate than non-autistic individuals, particularly when the video was too far behind. A trend analysis suggested that autistic participants were more likely to judge too far behind occlusions as being in time. These preliminary results suggest that prediction ability may be altered in autistic adults, potentially due to slower simulation or a delayed onset of these processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAutism Research
Early online date6 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring the prediction of observed actions using an occlusion paradigm: Comparing autistic and non‐autistic adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this