Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2013, Article ID 751516, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Preserved Imitation of Known Gestures in Children with High-Functioning Autism

1Area of Neuroscience, SISSA, Via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy
2Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon, Alameda da Cidade Universitária, 1649-013 Lisboa, Portugal
3Medical Image and Signal Processing Group, Department of Electronics and Information Systems, Ghent University—iMinds, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
4Department of Experimental and Clinical Medical Science (DISM), University of Udine, P.le Kolbe 3, 33100 Udine, Italy
5IRCCS “E. Medea” Scientific Institute, UDGEE, P.le S. Maria della Misericordia, 15 Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy

Received 8 June 2013; Accepted 25 July 2013

Academic Editors: T. den Heijer and K. W. Lange

Copyright © 2013 Joana C. Carmo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It has been suggested that children with autism are particularly deficient at imitating novel gestures or gestures without goals. In the present study, we asked high-functioning autistic children and age-matched typically developing children to imitate several types of gestures that could be either already known or novel to them. Known gestures either conveyed a communicative meaning (i.e., intransitive) or involved the use of objects (i.e., transitive). We observed a significant interaction between gesture type and group of participants, with children with autism performing known gestures better than novel gestures. However, imitation of intransitive and transitive gestures did not differ across groups. These findings are discussed in light of a dual-route model for action imitation.