Repetitive behavior and interests are a common clinical feature of autism. Specific patterns of behavior and interest give us insights into motivation in general. Functional or motivational theories are central to our understanding and treatment of many conditions; however, very little is known about motivational features in autism apart from general ideas of reduced social motivation and models of situational environmental correlates of aberrant behaviors. Research findings from the area of behavioral neuroscience of reward and addiction may help explain how repetitive behaviors and interests emerge, and how they can influence motivation, choice, learning and development in autism. Importantly, these basic research findings can be used to guide the development of novel forms of intervention in autism. In this talk, attendees will learn about (a) the clinical phenomenology of repetitive behavior and interests in autism, (b) brain-behavior research on interests and motivation in autism, and (c) how this research might be translated to everyday clinical practice.
Bodfish, J. W. (January, 2011). Repetitive behavior in Autism: Brain-Behavior Relationships. Presented at the ABAI 2011 Autism Conference, Washington, DC.
Review James Bodfish’s biographical statement.