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ERIC Number: EJ825907
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Reference Production in Young Speakers with and without Autism: Effects of Discourse Status and Processing Constraints
Arnold, Jennifer E.; Bennetto, Loisa; Diehl, Joshua J.
Cognition, v110 n2 p131-146 Feb 2009
We examine the referential choices (pronouns/zeros vs. names/descriptions) made during a narrative by high-functioning children and adolescents with autism and a well-matched typically developing control group. The process of choosing appropriate referring expressions has been proposed to depend on two areas of cognitive functioning: (a) judging the attention and knowledge of one's interlocutor, and (b) the use of memory and attention mechanisms to represent the discourse situation. We predicted possible group differences, since autism is often associated with deficits in (a) mentalizing and (b) memory and attention, as well as a more general tendency to have difficulty with the pragmatic aspects of language use. Results revealed that some of the participants with autism were significantly less likely to produce pronouns or zeros in some discourse contexts. However, the difference was only one of degree. Overall, all participants in our analysis exhibited fine-grained sensitivity to the discourse context. Furthermore, referential choices for all participants were modulated by factors related to the cognitive effort of language production. (Contains 8 tables and 3 figures.)
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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