Postural Hypo-Reactivity in Autism is Contingent on Development and Visual Environment: A Fully Immersive Virtual Reality Study
Although atypical motor behaviors have been associated with autism, investigations regarding their possible origins are scarce. This study assessed the visual and vestibular components involved in atypical postural reactivity in autism. Postural reactivity and stability were measured for younger (12–15 years) and older (16–33 years) autistic participants in response to a virtual tunnel oscillating at different frequencies. At the highest oscillation frequency, younger autistic participants showed significantly less instability compared to younger typically-developing participants; no such group differences were evidenced for older participants. Additionally, no significant differences in postural behavior were found between all 4 groups when presented with static or without visual information. Results confirm that postural hypo-reactivity to visual information is present in autism, but is contingent on both visual environment and development.