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Brief Report: Testing the Impairment of Initiation Processes Hypothesis in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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In the present study we aim at providing further evidences for the validity of an initiation processes impairment in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We applied different verbal fluency tasks designed to decrease or enhance this limitation. A group of high-functioning individuals with ASD and a group of typically developed individuals matched for -age, -IQ and -education, were tested in three verbal fluency tasks. In task 1, we replicated previous findings of an initiation impairment. In tasks 2 and 3, with simple manipulations, we observed that the differences between the groups were respectively eliminated or enhanced. We have not only provided further evidence of impairments in the initiation of a response, but we remarkably show how to circumvent them.

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The present work has been supported by a post-doctoral fellowships awarded to Joana C. Carmo (SFHR/BPD/79485/2011) by the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal and the POPH/FSE (European Union).

Author Contribution

Conceived the study and design: JCC, ED and CNF; Neuropsychological assessment and recruitment: SP; Collected data: CS; Analyzed the data: JCC and ED; Draft the manuscript: JCC and CNF.

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Correspondence to Joana C. Carmo.

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The authors declare that there are no conflict of interests.

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Ethical permission for the study involving human participants was granted by the Ethical committee of the Faculty of Psychology—University of Lisbon (Portugal), and each participant gave written informed consent.

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Carmo, J.C., Duarte, E., Souza, C. et al. Brief Report: Testing the Impairment of Initiation Processes Hypothesis in Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 1256–1260 (2017).

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