Poster B124, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Implicit Sequence Learning in Children with and Without ASD
Morgan Wright1, Rebecca Campbell1, Kaitlyn Tracy1, Amber Schmitt1, Jin Bo1; 1Eastern Michigan University
Studies reveal impaired implicit learning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, the findings in the motor learning literature have been controversial. The current study focused on implicit sequence learning in children with ASD. Four children diagnosed with ASD and 13 typically developing (TD) children (7-11 years of age) performed a serial reaction time task that contained 12-element second-order conditional sequences. There were 6 blocks of a learning sequence and 4 blocks of an alternative sequence with a different structure than the learning sequence. Blocks 3 through 7 and 9 contained the learning sequence and Blocks 1, 2, 8 & 10 contained the alternative sequence. Learning was measured as the response time (RT) differences between Block 7 and 8, Block 8 and 9, and Block 9 and 10. Explicit awareness during sequence learning was assessed using a generation task, recognition task, and open-ended questionnaire. Preliminary analyses revealed positive learning in TD children because of a significant difference between block 7 and 8, block 8 and 9 (both ps < 0.05). Marginal significant RT differences between block 7 and 8 were found in children with ASD (p < 0.05). Comparison between the two groups did not show learning differences. The lack of significant differences might be due to the small sample size of the pilot. The awareness tasks revealed that none of the participants developed explicit awareness of the learning sequence. Possible implicit motor learning difficulties in children ASD may be suggested.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Motor control