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Autism. 2007 May;11(3):241-54.

Evidence against poor semantic encoding in individuals with autism.

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University of Western Australia, Australia.


This article tests the hypothesis that individuals with autism poorly encode verbal information to the semantic level of processing, instead paying greater attention to phonological attributes. Participants undertook a novel explicit verbal recall task. Twenty children with autism were compared with 20 matched typically developing children. On each trial, 20 words were presented individually on a computer screen. Half of the items were related through having either a common semantic theme, or a common phonological feature. Following a filler task, the participants were presented with a cue and asked to recall items consistent with the cue. No differences between the autism and comparison groups were found in either the semantic or the phonological condition. A follow-up comparison revealed that the participants with autism showed comparable levels of recall to an additional group of children matched in chronological age. The findings do not support the idea of a developmental delay in semantic encoding in children with autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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