The extent to which autistic traits are predictive of impairments in allocentric spatial navigation
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This research is centred around how individuals with autistic traits navigate using both allocentric and egocentric spatial reference frames. Previous research suggests differences in the way that those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) navigate with much research indicating that those with ASD struggle particularly with allocentric navigation. In this study, 256 participants completed a place learning task followed by two self-report questionnaires, the Navigation Inventory and the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Results showed that AQ scores correlated with better performance in the allocentric condition of the place learning task, this was in the opposite direction than predicted. Further to this, the attention to detail subscale of the AQ was the only subscale to show a significant correlation with allocentric place learning error. Within the egocentric conditions people performed better in the condition without unreliable landmarks. Although this finding differs from that of previous research it aligns with findings from other virtual place learning tasks in which participants with ASD excel at visuo-spatial tasks during virtual experiments. This research is important because a greater awareness is needed to highlight the difficulties that a person with ASD may experience in their everyday life, this can allow for the development of specific navigational strategies to aid their daily navigation.
Presley, A. (2021) 'The extent to which autistic traits are predictive of impairments in allocentric spatial navigation', The Plymouth Student Scientist, 14(2), pp. 571-586.