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Associations Between Interoceptive Cognition and Age in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development

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Interoceptive awareness is linked to emotional and social cognition, which are impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is unknown how this ability is associated with age in either typical or atypical development. We used a standard test of interoceptive accuracy (IA) to investigate these questions in children and adults with and without ASD. Perceived number of heartbeats over 4 time intervals was compared with actual heart rate to determine IA. Effects of group, age, IQ, heart rate, and mental counting ability on accuracy were assessed using multiple regression. Post hoc correlations were performed to clarify significant interactions. Age was unrelated to IA in both groups when IQ ≥115. When IQ <115, this relationship was positive in typical development and negative in ASD. These results suggest that cognitive ability moderates the effect of age on IA differently in autism and typical development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2017

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