Brief Report: Body Image in Autism: Evidence from Body Size Estimation
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties with social interaction and communication. First-hand accounts written by individuals with ASD have shown the existence of other atypical characteristics such as difficulties with body awareness. However, few studies have examined whether such atypicalities are found more generally among individuals with ASD. We examined body image (i.e., self-body awareness) by asking individuals with ASD and typically developing (TD) individuals to estimate their own body size (shoulder width). Results show that TD individuals estimated their shoulder width more accurately than individuals with ASD. This study suggests that individuals with ASD often experience misperceptions in their body size.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Body image Body awareness Body sense
We are grateful to all of the participants, their families, and the teachers of Musashino Higashi Gakuen. We thank Nanami Harada for her helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank Yukiko Kikuchi, Hironori Akechi, and other staff who are part of the Komaba research team for their help with data collection.
This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (25885024, 15K17265, and 24330207) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) (24119006).
KA and SK conceived and designed the experiments. KA performed the experiments, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. YT, KH, AS, and TH contributed to the materials/apparatuses and the recruitment of the participants. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Research Ethics Committee of the University of Tokyo and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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