Action prediction in 10-month-old infants at high and low familial risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ricarda Braukmann*, Emma Ward, Roy S. Hessels, Harold Bekkering, Jan K. Buitelaar, Sabine Hunnius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Several studies have reported action prediction difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Although action prediction develops in infancy, little is known about prediction abilities in infants at risk for ASD. Methods: Using eye tracking, we measured action anticipations in 52 10-month-old infants at high and low familial risk for ASD. Infants were repeatedly presented with actions during which a familiar object (cup/phone) was either brought to a location usually associated with the object (cup-to-mouth/phone-to-ear; usual condition) or to an unusual location (cup-to-ear/phone-to-mouth; unusual condition). We assessed infants’ anticipations to the actual target location (i.e., the location where the object was actually brought; the mouth in cup-to-mouth/phone-to-mouth actions; the ear in cup-to-ear/phone-to-ear actions) and the alternative target location (the ear in cup-to-mouth/phone-to-mouth actions; the mouth in cup-to-ear/phone-to-ear actions). Results: Anticipation frequencies were modulated by object knowledge across all infants: We found more frequent anticipations towards the alternative target location for unusual compared to usual actions. This effect was in particular present for mouth anticipations which were also overall more frequent than ear anticipations. Across usual and unusual actions, infants showed more frequent anticipations towards the actual target location, potentially representing a learning effect elicited by the repeated action presentation. Importantly, there were no differences between the low- and high-risk infants in predictive eye movements. Conclusion: Whereas our results suggest that familial risk for ASD does not affect action prediction in infancy, future research needs to investigate whether differences are apparent in those high-risk infants who later receive a diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-46
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Action prediction
  • ASD
  • Eye tracking
  • Infant
  • Siblings


Dive into the research topics of 'Action prediction in 10-month-old infants at high and low familial risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this