Goal prediction in 2-year-old children with and without autism spectrum disorder: An eye-tracking study

Sheila Krogh-Jespersen*, Zsuzsa Kaldy, Annalisa Groth Valadez, Alice S. Carter, Amanda L. Woodward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study examined the predictive reasoning abilities of typically developing (TD) infants and 2-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in an eye-tracking paradigm. Participants watched a video of a goal-directed action in which a human actor reached for and grasped one of two objects. At test, the objects switched locations. Across these events, we measured: visual anticipation of the action outcome with kinematic cues (i.e., a completed reaching behavior); goal prediction of the action outcome without kinematic cues (i.e., an incomplete reach); and latencies to generate predictions across these two tasks. Results revealed similarities in action anticipation across groups when trajectory information regarding the intended goal was present; however, when predicting the goal without kinematic cues, developmental and diagnostic differences became evident. Younger TD children generated goal-based visual predictions, whereas older TD children were not systematic in their visual predictions. In contrast to both TD groups, children with ASD generated location-based predictions, suggesting that their visual predictions may reflect visuomotor perseveration. Together, these results suggest differences in early predictive reasoning abilities. Autism Res 2018, 11: 870–882.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-882
Number of pages13
JournalAutism Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • eye-tracking
  • goal prediction speed
  • goal-based action predictions
  • infants
  • prospective reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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