Processing of Ironic Language in Children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder
- 1.1k Downloads
We examined processing of verbal irony in three groups of children: (1) 18 children with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD), (2) 18 typically-developing children, matched to the first group for verbal ability, and (3) 18 typically-developing children matched to the first group for chronological age. We utilized an irony comprehension task that minimized verbal and pragmatic demands for participants. Results showed that children with HFASD were as accurate as typically-developing children in judging speaker intent for ironic criticisms, but group differences in judgment latencies, eye gaze, and humor evaluations suggested that children with HFASD applied a different processing strategy for irony comprehension; one that resulted in less accurate appreciation of the social functions of irony.
KeywordsVerbal irony High-functioning Autism spectrum disorder Language processing Eye gaze Figurative language
This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) research grant to P. M. P. We thank Alice Post and Helen MacDonald for assistance with this study.
- Adachi, T., Koeda, T., Hirabayashi, S., Maeoka, Y., Shiota, M., Wright, E. C., et al. (2004). The metaphor and sarcasm scenario test: A new instrument to help differentiate high functioning pervasive developmental disorder from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Brain and Development, 26, 301–306.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Gibbs, R. (1994). The poetics of mind: Figurative thought, language, and understanding. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics: Speech acts (Vol. 3, pp. 41–58). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
- Guerts, H. M., Verté, S., Oosterlaan, J., Roeyers, H., Hartman, C. A., Mulder, E. J., et al. (2004). Can the Children’s Communication Checklist differentiate between children with autism, children with ADHD, and normal controls? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1437–1453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kasari, C., Chamberlain, B., & Bauminger, N. (2001). Social emotions and social relationships: Can children with autism compensate? In J. Burack, T. Charman, N. Yirmiya, & P. Zelazo (Eds.), The development of autism: Perspectives from theory and research (pp. 309–323). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., & Paul, R. (1997). Language and communication in autism. In D. J. Cohen & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (2nd ed., pp. 195–225). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Newcomer, P. L., & Hammill, D. D. (1997). Test of language development, primary (3rd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro-ed.Google Scholar
- Tager-Flusberg, H., Paul, R., & Lord, C. (2005). Language and Communication in Autism. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (3rd ed., pp. 335–364). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
- Trueswell, J., & Gleitman, L. (2004). Children’s eye movements during listening: Developmental evidence for a constraint-based theory of sentence processing. In J. M. Henderson & F. Ferreira (Eds.), The interface of language, vision, and action: Eye movements and the visual world (pp. 319–346). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar