The art of common ground: emergence of a complex pragmatic language skill in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

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TitleThe art of common ground: emergence of a complex pragmatic language skill in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
Authorsde Marchena, A, Eigsti, I-M
JournalJ Child Lang
Volume43
Issue1
Pagination43-80
Date Published2016 Jan
ISSN1469-7602
KeywordsAdolescent, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Case-Control Studies, Child, Communication, Female, Humans, Language Development, Male, Narration, Social Skills, Speech
Abstract

Deficits in pragmatic language are central to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here we investigate common ground, a pragmatic language skill in which speakers adjust the contents of their speech based on their interlocutor's perceived knowledge, in adolescents with ASD and typical development (TD), using an experimental narrative paradigm. Consistent with prior research, TD participants produced shorter narrations when they shared knowledge with an interlocutor, an effect not observed at the group level in ASD. This effect was unrelated to general skills such as IQ or receptive vocabulary. In ASD, the effect was correlated with age and symptom severity: older and less severely affected participants did shorten their narratives. Several metrics (including explicit references to common ground, speech disfluencies, and communicative quality ratings) suggested that, although adolescents with ASD did not show implicit reductions in their narrative length, they were aware of common ground, and communicated differently in its presence.

DOI10.1017/S0305000915000070
Alternate JournalJ Child Lang
PubMed ID25708810
PubMed Central IDPMC4764348
Grant ListT32 NS007413 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
T32NS007413 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
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