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Small Semantic Networks in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Without Intellectual Impairment: A Verbal Fluency Approach

Authors
  • Ehlen, Felicitas1, 2, 1
  • Roepke, Stefan1
  • Klostermann, Fabian1, 3
  • Baskow, Irina1, 3
  • Geise, Pia1, 4
  • Belica, Cyril5
  • Tiedt, Hannes Ole1
  • Behnia, Behnoush1
  • 1 Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin,
  • 2 Jüdisches Krankenhaus Berlin,
  • 3 Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin,
  • 4 Present Address: Universität Potsdam,
  • 5 Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 20, 2020
Volume
50
Issue
11
Pages
3967–3987
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-020-04457-9
PMID: 32198662
PMCID: PMC7560923
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience a variety of symptoms sometimes including atypicalities in language use. The study explored differences in semantic network organisation of adults with ASD without intellectual impairment. We assessed clusters and switches in verbal fluency tasks (‘animals’, ‘human feature’, ‘verbs’, ‘r-words’) via curve fitting in combination with corpus-driven analysis of semantic relatedness and evaluated socio-emotional and motor action related content. Compared to participants without ASD (n = 39), participants with ASD (n = 32) tended to produce smaller clusters, longer switches, and fewer words in semantic conditions (no p values survived Bonferroni-correction), whereas relatedness and content were similar. In ASD, semantic networks underlying cluster formation appeared comparably small without affecting strength of associations or content.

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