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Brain Lang. 2018 Nov;186:44-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2018.09.001. Epub 2018 Sep 11.

Visual and linguistic narrative comprehension in autism spectrum disorders: Neural evidence for modality-independent impairments.

Author information

1
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, United States; Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States. Electronic address: emily.coderre@med.uvm.edu.
2
Tilburg Center for Cognition and Communication (TiCC), Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
3
Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States; Department of Health Professions, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, United States.
4
Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States; Department of Human Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA, United States.
5
Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.
6
Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States; Department of Cognitive Science, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Abstract

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have notable language difficulties, including with understanding narratives. However, most narrative comprehension studies have used written or spoken narratives, making it unclear whether narrative difficulties stem from language impairments or more global impairments in the kinds of general cognitive processes (such as understanding meaning and structural sequencing) that are involved in narrative comprehension. Using event-related potentials (ERPs), we directly compared semantic comprehension of linguistic narratives (short sentences) and visual narratives (comic panels) in adults with ASD and typically-developing (TD) adults. Compared to the TD group, the ASD group showed reduced N400 effects for both linguistic and visual narratives, suggesting comprehension impairments for both types of narratives and thereby implicating a more domain-general impairment. Based on these results, we propose that individuals with ASD use a more bottom-up style of processing during narrative comprehension.

KEYWORDS:

Autism spectrum disorders; Event-related potentials; N400; Narrative comprehension; Visual narratives

PMID:
30216902
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandl.2018.09.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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