Research in Developmental Disabilities vol:34 pages:538-545
Although imitation problems have been associated with autism for many years, the underlying mechanisms of these problems remain subject to debate. In this article, the question whether imitation problems are caused by selection or correspondence problems is explored and discussed. This review revealed that hypotheses on the nature of imitation problems in autism are complicated and inconclusive at the present time. There is some evidence for impaired selection, especially implicating poor preferential attention to biological motion and poor ascription of intention to action. There is also some evidence that both transformations of perspectives and mapping of visual to motor information are impaired, characterized as correspondence problems. However, it is not yet clear how poor selection processes contribute to correspondence problems and vice versa. Insight in this interaction may provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of imitation problems in autism. For further research we recommend that tasks should be constrained to target as few mechanisms as possible in given experiments.