Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 281–290

An Electrophysiological Investigation of Semantic Incongruity Processing by People with Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Howard Ring
  • Simeran Sharma
  • Sally Wheelwright
  • Geoff Barrett
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to investigate whether a physiological measure of impaired use of context could be obtained in people with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). The experimental paradigm employed was the use of electroencephalography to measure the detection of semantic incongruity within written sentences, as indexed by an N400 event-related potential. Whilst the seven controls appropriately demonstrated N400 potentials only to semantically incongruent stimuli, the seven participants with AS inappropriately demonstrated N400 potentials to congruent stimuli. These results are compatible with the possibility that the participants with AS did not use the context within sentences to predict the final word of the sentences.


Asperger’s syndrome Event-related potential Semantic incongruity Context 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Ring
    • 3
    • 1
  • Simeran Sharma
    • 2
  • Sally Wheelwright
    • 3
  • Geoff Barrett
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Section of Developmental PsychiatryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Barts and the London School of MedicineUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Autism Research Centre, University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Human Sciences TeamInformation Management, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) WiltshireUK

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