Lexical Effects on Children's Speech Processing: Individual Differences Reflected in the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2015
Lexical Effects on Children's Speech Processing: Individual Differences Reflected in the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mitsuhiko Ota
    University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Mary E. Stewart
    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Alexandra M. Petrou
    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Catherine Dickie
    Scottish Government, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Mitsuhiko Ota: mits@ling.ed.ac.uk
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Linda Watson
    Associate Editor: Linda Watson×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Healthcare Settings / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2015
Lexical Effects on Children's Speech Processing: Individual Differences Reflected in the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 422-433. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0061
History: Received February 19, 2014 , Revised September 5, 2014 , Accepted December 16, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2015, Vol. 58, 422-433. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0061
History: Received February 19, 2014; Revised September 5, 2014; Accepted December 16, 2014

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.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a Small Research Grant (SG-51819) from the British Academy, awarded to Mitsuhiko Ota. We thank Jim Stirk for creating the animations for the experiments, Morgan Sonderegger for advice on statistical analysis, and Bonnie Auyeung and Amy Goodwin Davies for comments on earlier versions of the article.
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