Reduced Phonemic Convergence in Autism Spectrum Disorder

AbstractPrevious research has demonstrated that speakers change their phonemic form in response to variability in their immediate linguistic milieu, such that they converge with an interlocutor. While much is known about the impact of social dynamics on this process, the impact of individual variability in cognition and perception is less well-explored. The present study seeks to examine the impact of these individual differences on phonemic convergence during a naturalistic conversation, comparing convergence in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typical development. Results showed a small effect of temporal convergence within typically developing dyads, compared with evidence of divergence within ASD dyads. While preliminary, this pattern of results suggests that social motivation may play a more important role in phonemic convergence than sensory accounts (such as self-monitoring).

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