The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prediction ability in children with ASD in the risk-involving situations and compute the impact of statistical learning (SL) in strengthening their risk knowledge. The learning index and stability with time are also calculated by comparing their performance over three consecutive weekly sessions (session 1, session 2 and session 3).
Participants were presented with a series of images, showing simple and complex risk-involving situations, using the psychophysical experimental paradigm. The stimuli in the experiment were provided with different levels of difficulty in order to keep the legacy of the prediction and SL-based experiment intact.
The first phase of experimental work showed that children with ASD accurately discriminated the risk, although performed poorly as compared to neurotypical. The attenuated response in differentiating risk levels indicates that children with ASD have a poor and underdeveloped sense of risk. The second phase investigated their capability to extract the information from repetitive patterns and calculated SL stability value in time. The learning curve shows that SL is intact and stable with time (average session r=0.74) in children with ASD.
The present work concludes that impaired action prediction could possibly be one of the factors underlying underdeveloped sense of risk in children with ASD. Their SL capability shows that risk knowledge can be strengthened in them. In future, the studies should investigate the impact of age and individual differences, by using knowledge from repetitive trials, on the learning rate and trajectories.
SL, being an integral part of different therapies, rehabilitation schemes and intervention systems, has the potential to enhance the cognitive and functional abilities of children with ASD.
Past studies have provided evidence regarding the work on the prediction ability in individuals with ASD. However, it is unclear whether the risk-involving/dangerous situations play any certain role to enhance the prediction ability in children with ASD. Also, there are limited studies predicting risk knowledge in them. Based on this, the current work has investigated the risk prediction in children with ASD.