Inhibitory control and lexical alignment in children with an autism spectrum disorder

Hopkins, Zoë, Yuill, Nicola and Branigan, Holly P (2017) Inhibitory control and lexical alignment in children with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58 (10). pp. 1155-1165. ISSN 0021-9630

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Background: Two experiments investigated the contribution of conflict inhibition to pragmatic deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Typical adults’ tendency to re-use interlocutors’ referential choices (lexical alignment) implicates communicative perspective-taking, which is regulated by conflict inhibition. We examined whether children with ASD spontaneously lexically aligned, and whether conflict inhibition mediated alignment.
Methods: Children with ASD and chronological- and verbal-age-matched typically-developing controls played a picture-naming game. We manipulated whether the experimenter used a preferred or dispreferred name for each picture, and examined whether children subsequently used the same name.
Results: Children with ASD spontaneously lexically aligned, to the same extent as typically-developing controls. Alignment was unrelated to conflict inhibition in both groups.
Conclusions: Children with ASD’s referential communication is robust to impairments in conflict inhibition under some circumstances. Their pragmatic deficits may be mitigated in a highly structured interaction.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; alignment; inhibitory control; perspective-taking
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2017 09:42
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:47

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