Logopedics, phoniatrics, vocology

Autistic traits and attention to speech: Evidence from typically developing individuals.

PMID 27216974


Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have a preference for attending to non-speech stimuli over speech stimuli. We are interested in whether non-speech preference is only a feature of diagnosed individuals, and whether we can we test implicit preference experimentally. In typically developed individuals, serial recall is disrupted more by speech stimuli than by non-speech stimuli. Since behaviour of individuals with autistic traits resembles that of individuals with autism, we have used serial recall to test whether autistic traits influence task performance during irrelevant speech sounds. The errors made on the serial recall task during speech or non-speech sounds were counted as a measure of speech or non-speech preference in relation to no sound condition. We replicated the serial order effect and found the speech to be more disruptive than the non-speech sounds, but were unable to find any associations between the autism quotient scores and the non-speech sounds. Our results may indicate a learnt behavioural response to speech sounds.

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