Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder Comprehend Lexicalized and Novel Primary Conceptual Metaphors
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- Olofson, E.L., Casey, D., Oluyedun, O.A. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2014) 44: 2568. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2129-3
Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty comprehending metaphors. However, no study to date has examined whether or not they understand conceptual metaphors (i.e. mappings between conceptual structures), which could be the building blocks of metaphoric thinking and understanding. We investigated whether 13 participants with ASD (age 7;03–22;03) and 13 age-matched typically developing (TD) controls could comprehend lexicalized conceptual metaphors (e.g., Susan is a warm person) and novel ones (e.g., Susan is a toasty person). Individuals with ASD performed at greater than chance levels on both metaphor types, although their performance was lower than TD participants. We discuss the theoretical relevance of these findings and educational implications.