Skip to main content

Spectrum: Autism Research News

News The latest developments in autism research.

Video: Tricking the mind to understand autism

by  /  17 October 2012

This article is more than five years old. Autism research - and science in general - is constantly evolving, so older articles may contain information or theories that have been reevaluated since their original publication date.

“Fun talk!” “Long live the rubber hand!” These were some of the comments heard during the question-and-answer period after a presentation Monday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in New Orleans.

In the presentation, Carissa Cascio, assistant professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, described testing the ‘rubber hand illusion’ in children with autism.

And it’s true, the rubber hand was a welcome break from the intense and sometimes arcane presentations that have characterized much of the conference.

But sensory illusions are much more than just parlor tricks or diversions, Cascio says. For example, her study suggests that children with autism process information about sight and touch differently than typically developing children. This has implications for understanding social deficits in autism, and perhaps for treatment of the disorder.

In a video interview with, Cascio explains why sensory illusions work, and what they might be able to teach us about autism.


For more reports from the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, please click here.