Lexical effects on children’s speech processing: Individual differences reflected in the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

Mitsuhiko Ota, Mary E. Stewart, Alexandra M. Petrou, Catherine Dickie

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    Abstract

    Purpose: This study was undertaken to examine whether children exhibit the same relationship that adults show between lexical influence on phoneme identification and individual variation on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). Method: Data from 62 4- to 7-year-olds with no diagnosis of autism were analyzed. The main task involved identification of the initial sound in pairs of voice-onset time continua with a real word on one end and a nonword on the other (e.g., gift–kift, giss–kiss). Participants were also given the children’s version of the AQ and a 2nd instrument related to autistic-like traits, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). Results: The lexical shift was related to the AQ (particularly to its Attention Switching subscale) but not to the SRS. Conclusions: The size of lexical effects on children’s speech perception can be predicted by AQ scores but not necessarily by other measures of autism-like traits. The results indicate that speech perception in children manifests individual differences along some general dimension of cognitive style reflected in the AQ, possibly in relation to local/global information processing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)422-433
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Volume58
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Speech and Hearing
    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language

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