Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 611–618 | Cite as

Brief Report: Body Image in Autism: Evidence from Body Size Estimation

  • Kosuke Asada
  • Yoshikuni Tojo
  • Koichiro Hakarino
  • Atsuko Saito
  • Toshikazu Hasegawa
  • Shinichiro Kumagaya
Brief Report


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.


Autism 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).

Author Contributions

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.

Ethical Approval

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

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kosuke Asada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yoshikuni Tojo
    • 3
  • Koichiro Hakarino
    • 4
  • Atsuko Saito
    • 5
    • 6
  • Toshikazu Hasegawa
    • 5
  • Shinichiro Kumagaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Advanced Science and TechnologyThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationHakuoh UniversityOyamaJapan
  3. 3.College of EducationIbaraki UniversityMitoJapan
  4. 4.Musashino Higashi Center for Education and ResearchMusashino Higashi GakuenMusashinoJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Arts and SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Department of Childhood EducationMusashino UniversityNishitokyo-shiJapan

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