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Brain Lang. 2018 Oct 9;187:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2018.09.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Auditory perception is associated with implicit language learning and receptive language ability in autism spectrum disorder.

Author information

1
University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, United States. Electronic address: arnettab@uw.edu.
2
University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, United States.
3
University of Washington, Department of Psychology, United States.
4
University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, United States; Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with language impairment as well as atypical auditory sensory processing. The current study investigated associations among auditory perception, implicit language learning and receptive language ability in youth with ASD.

METHODS:

We measured auditory event related potentials (ERP) during an artificial language statistical learning task in 76 youth with ASD and 27 neurotypical (NT) controls. Participants with ASD had a broad range of cognitive and language abilities.

RESULTS:

NT youth showed evidence of implicit learning via attenuated P1 amplitude in the left hemisphere. In contrast, among youth with ASD, implicit learning elicited bilateral attenuation that was increasingly evident with greater receptive language skill.

CONCLUSIONS:

Efficient early auditory perception reflects language learning and is a marker of language ability among youth with ASD. Atypical lateralization of word learning is evident in ASD across a broad range of receptive language abilities.

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