Self-Perception in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Recent research suggests that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are unaware of their competencies in a variety of domains and overestimate their competencies above what is normative in the general population. The current research contributes to our understanding of self-perception in children with ASD by examining whether self-perception of academic competencies differs in children with ASD compared to typically-developing (TD) controls. It also examines whether estimations of competency change after providing feedback on a task, and if parameters such as reaction time and confidence relate to perceptions. Finally, it explores other possible factors that are related to self-perception. Sixty participants, 10 to 15 years of age, completed academic tasks that consisted of verbal and math questions. Participants were asked to predict their performance before and after the tasks and were asked to rate their confidence in these predictions. The ASD group significantly overestimated their performance compared to the TD group, before and after completing the academic task. Overestimation occurred regardless of whether they were asked how many questions they would answer correctly or incorrectly. There were no differences between the groups on their confidence ratings of their performance on the tasks, suggesting that children with ASD are not overly confident in their predictions. When provided with feedback, the ASD group did not differ from the TD group in their perceptions. The ASD group was significantly more accurate with their perceptions when receiving feedback compared to no feedback, which suggests that they are able to process concrete feedback. Confidence ratings were not related to making more accurate predictions, and the length of time participants took to predict their performance did not affect accuracy in either group. Finally, the project examined two factors related to self-perception: episodic memory and social motivation did not predict self-perception in either group. This research provides insight into how individuals with ASD overestimate their academic competencies and helps us understand more about whether children with ASD process concrete feedback when self-evaluating. Future research should attempt to understand the underlying mechanisms and function of overestimations of competencies.