Linguistic Alignment in Adults with and Without Asperger’s Syndrome

Slocombe, Katie E, Alvarez, Ivan, Branigan, Holly P, Jellema, Tjeerd, Burnett, Hollie G, Fischer, Anja orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7872-1292, Li, Yan H, Garrod, Simon and Levita, Liat (2013) Linguistic Alignment in Adults with and Without Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43 (6). pp. 1423-1436. ISSN 0162-3257

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Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) often have difficulties with social interactions and conversations. We investigated if these difficulties could be attributable to a deficit in the ability to linguistically converge with an interlocutor, which is posited to be important for successful communication. To that end, participants completed two cooperative tasks with a confederate, which allowed us to measure linguistic alignment with the confederate in terms of lexical choice, syntactic structure and spatial frame of reference. There was no difference in the performance of individuals with AS and matched controls and both groups showed significant alignment with the confederate at all three levels. We conclude that linguistic alignment is intact in adults with AS engaged in structured, goal-directed social interactions.

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