Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 795–812

Linguistic and Non-Linguistic Semantic Processing in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An ERP Study

  • Emily L. Coderre
  • Mariya Chernenok
  • Barry Gordon
  • Kerry Ledoux
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-016-2985-0

Cite this article as:
Coderre, E.L., Chernenok, M., Gordon, B. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2017) 47: 795. doi:10.1007/s10803-016-2985-0

Abstract

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience difficulties with language, particularly higher-level functions like semantic integration. Yet some studies indicate that semantic processing of non-linguistic stimuli is not impaired, suggesting a language-specific deficit in semantic processing. Using a semantic priming task, we compared event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to lexico-semantic processing (written words) and visuo-semantic processing (pictures) in adults with ASD and adults with typical development (TD). The ASD group showed successful lexico-semantic and visuo-semantic processing, indicated by similar N400 effects between groups for word and picture stimuli. However, differences in N400 latency and topography in word conditions suggested different lexico-semantic processing mechanisms: an expectancy-based strategy for the TD group but a controlled post-lexical integration strategy for the ASD group.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Semantic processing ERP Language Pictures 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Therapeutic Cognitive Neuroscience Fund
    Benjamin and Adith Miller Family Endowment on Aging, Alzheimer’s, and Autism Research (US)

      Copyright information

      © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

      Authors and Affiliations

      • Emily L. Coderre
        • 1
      • Mariya Chernenok
        • 1
        • 2
      • Barry Gordon
        • 1
        • 3
      • Kerry Ledoux
        • 1
      1. 1.Division of Cognitive Neurology/Neuropsychology, Department of NeurologyThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
      2. 2.Center for Mind and BrainUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA
      3. 3.Department of Cognitive ScienceThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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