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Inhibition and the Validity of the Stroop Task for Children with Autism

Abstract

Findings are mixed concerning inhibition in autism. Using the classic Stroop, children with autism (CWA) often outperform typically developing children (TDC). A classic Stroop and a chimeric animal Stroop were used to explore the validity of the Stroop task as a test of inhibition for CWA. During the classic Stroop, children ignored the word and named the ink colour, then vice versa. Although CWA showed less interference than TDC when colour naming, both groups showed comparable interference when word reading. During the chimeric animal task, children ignored bodies of animals and named heads, and vice versa; the groups performed comparably. Findings confirm that lower reading comprehension affects Stroop interference in CWA, potentially leading to inaccurate conclusions concerning inhibition in CWA.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the help of the students and staff at the following schools in this research: Florence Brown Community School, Bristol; Fosse Way School, Radstock; Perry Court Junior School, Bristol; Somervale School, Midsomer Norton.

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Correspondence to Nena C. Adams.

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Adams, N.C., Jarrold, C. Inhibition and the Validity of the Stroop Task for Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 39, 1112–1121 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0721-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0721-8

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Executive function
  • Inhibition
  • Stroop task
  • Reading comprehension