Cognitive control of intentions for voluntary actions in individuals with a high level of autistic traits.
Poljac E., Poljac E., Yeung N.
Impairments in cognitive control generating deviant adaptive cognition have been proposed to account for the strong preference for repetitive behavior in autism. We examined if this preference reflects intentional deficits rather than problems in task execution in the broader autism phenotype using the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Participants chose between two tasks differing in their relative strength by indicating first their voluntary task choice and then responding to the subsequently presented stimulus. We observed a stronger repetition bias for the harder task in high AQ participants, with no other differences between the two groups. These findings indicate that the interference between competing tasks significantly contributes to repetitive behavior in autism by modulating the formation of task intentions when choosing tasks voluntarily.