Eyeblink Conditioning in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorderes


We are studying learning in autism.  Eyeblink condtioning is a learning task that is automatic.  The task is well deliniated in terms of the brain areas needed to complete the task and we know that the cerebellum is used in this task.  We also know that there are reported problems in the cerebellum in autism.  Our purpose is to see whether children with autism aged 6 to 17 years perform differently than typical children.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and typical children (to act as controls)
Study Type: 
Study of learning in autism
Study Design: 

Children will be assessed for diagnosis and cognitive functioning.  They will then perform on the learning task.  The task takes about 30 minutes to complete and we try to have the children do the task on 4 different days over several weeks.


The study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Healh.

Primary Outcome Measures: 

Eyeblink Conditioning

Secondary Outcome Measures: 

Social Responsiveness Scale

Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised

Childhood Autism Rating Scale

Typicals are assessed with a standard psychiatric diagnostic interview called the Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents.

Study Start Date: 
Primary Completion Date: 
June 2011

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders aged 6 to 17 and typically developing children of the same age.

Assigned Interventions: 


Ages of Eligibility: 
6-17 years
males and females
Inclusion Criteria: 

For ASD, a verified diagnoses of ASD.

For typicals, no major psychiatric diagnoses except ADHD and ODD.



Richard Malone, MD

Alicia Fuscellaro



Drexel Autism Center, located at Friend's Hospital, 4641 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19124

Sponsors & Collaborators: 

Sponsor: National Institute of Mental Health


Richard P. Malone, M.D and the staff of the Drexel Autism Center

Responsible Party: 
Richard P. Malone, M.D.
Study ID Numbers: 
Grant 5R21MH84219
Health Authority: 
Drexel University College of Medicine