Reduced social coordination in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Tiziana Zalla, Marco Sperduti, Giovanna Girardi, Chiara Chelini, Marion Leboyer, Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, we investigated whether individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) were able to coordinate with an unknown partner on the same outcome using a two-person pure coordination game. Twenty-one adults with ASD and twenty-one typically developed (TD) control participants were presented with sets of four items, and were asked to choose one of these items under three conditions: Picking one's own personal preferred item, guessing what might be the partner's preference, and choosing an item in order to coordinate with the partner's choice. Each set included a salient item that stood out for its distinctive properties, known as the focal point. The results showed that individuals with ASD choose more often their preferred items than the salient cues to coordinate with others and to guess the partner's preference, as compared to TD controls. Performance for coordination was related to clinical scores assessing difficulties in communication and the severity of the autistic traits, but was unrelated to verbal intelligence and verbally mediated Theory-of-Mind task. These findings suggest that self-bias processes in decision-making might be a source of impairment in social coordination and interaction in ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Coordination
  • Decision making
  • Self-reference
  • Theory of Mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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