Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 795–812 | Cite as

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

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 

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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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