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ERIC Number: EJ1159565
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1368-2822
Can You Tell It by the Prime? A Study of Metaphorical Priming in High-Functioning Autism in Comparison with Matched Controls
Chahboun, Sobh; Vulchanov, Valentin; Saldaña, David; Eshuis, Hendrik; Vulchanova, Mila
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v52 n6 p766-785 Nov 2017
Background: Problems with pragmatic aspects of language are well attested in individuals on the autism spectrum. It remains unclear, however, whether figurative language skills improve with language status and whether problems in figurative language are no longer present in highly verbal individuals with autism. Aims: To investigate whether highly verbal individuals with autism perform similarly as age-, intelligence- and verbal comprehension-matched controls on the processing of one of the most common types of figurative language, metaphors. The goal was to establish whether the participants with autism are primed similarly to controls by figurative expressions (metaphors) presented in different conditions. Methods & Procedures: The experiment was designed as a cross-modal lexical-decision task where metaphors served as primes for target words related to their figurative or literal meaning. Outcomes & Results: Our findings show that both ASD and control participants made very few errors in the experimental task. However, the participants with ASD presented with problems in performance on the task, reflected in significantly slower reaction times compared with the typically developing peer groups. The similar response speed observed between the younger typical control children and the adult ASD participants suggests that the mechanisms underlying metaphor processing (e.g., selection of metaphorical versus literal interpretation) are still developing in high-functioning autism, very much like in typical children. Conclusions & Implications: These results may suggest that metaphor processing requires more than adequate language competences. The findings are also suggestive of a delay in developing sensitivity to figurative language, rather than sheer inability. This suggests that a timely training programme can be implemented to improve figurative language abilities in ASD.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A