Emotional speech comprehension in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders

Abstract : We examined the understanding of emotional speech by children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We predicted that they would have difficulty understanding emotional speech, not because of an emotional prosody processing impairment but because of problems drawing appropriate inferences, especially in multiple-cue environments. Twenty-six children and adolescents with ASD and 26 typically developing controls performed a computerized task featuring emotional prosody, either embedded in a discrepant context or without any context at all. They must identify the speaker's feeling. When the prosody was the sole cue, participants with ASD performed just as well as controls, relying on this cue to infer the speaker's intention. When the prosody was embedded in a discrepant context, both ASD and TD participants exhibited a contextual bias and a negativity bias. However ASD participants relied less on the emotional prosody than the controls when it was positive. We discuss these findings with respect to executive function and intermodal processing.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 19, 2018 - 1:26:02 PM
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Sandrine Le Sourn-Bissaoui, Marc Aguert, Pauline Girard, Claire Chevreuil, Virginie Laval. Emotional speech comprehension in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Communication Disorders, Elsevier, 2013, 46 (4), pp.309-320. ⟨10.1016/j.jcomdis.2013.03.002⟩. ⟨hal-01712211⟩

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