Children With Autism Show Reduced Information Seeking When Learning New Tasks Academic Article uri icon


  • Information-seeking behaviours occur when children look to adults in order to gain further information about a novel stimulus/situation. The current study investigated information seeking in children with developmental delays (DD) and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) during a simulated teaching situation. Twenty preschool-aged children with ASD and 15 children with DD were exposed to a series of videos where a teacher provided novel instructions and demonstrated novel actions. We found that children with DD, but not those with ASD, demonstrated information-seeking behaviours in response to instructions that exceeded their level of understanding. This suggests that children with DD may use information-seeking behaviours to compensate for their cognitive and language difficulties when novel actions are being taught, while the same is not true for children with ASD.

publication date

  • 2016