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Elephants in Pyjamas: Testing the Weak Central Coherence Account of Autism Spectrum Disorders Using a Syntactic Disambiguation Task

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nick Riches

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Abstract

According to the weak central coherence (CC) account individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience difficulties integrating parts and wholes. Weak CC was investigated in the verbal domain. Adolescent participants were recruited according to a 2 (ASD status) by 2 (Language Impairment status) design. They completed an aural forced choice comprehension task involving syntactically ambiguous sentences. Half the picture targets depicted the least plausible interpretation. This resulted in longer RTs across all groups, and there was no ASD by plausibility interaction. Therefore, individuals with ASD use context during syntactic comprehension, and are not unusually strong at suppressing context. Profiles were similar for language-impaired participants. In conclusion, weak CC varies as a function of domain (visual versus verbal) and task complexity.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Riches NG, Loucas T, Baird G, Charman T, Simonoff E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Year: 2016

Volume: 46

Issue: 1

Pages: 155-163

Print publication date: 01/01/2016

Online publication date: 30/08/2015

Acceptance date: 11/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0162-3257

ISSN (electronic): 1573-3432

Publisher: Springer New York

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-015-2560-0

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-015-2560-0

PubMed id: 26319252


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