Semantic Processing Differences in Autism Spectrum Disorder. European Conference of Eye Movement Research

Philippa L. Howard, Simon P. Liversedge, Valerie Benson

Research output: Published contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The aim of this experiment was to examine semantic processing in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research into reading in ASD has predominantly employed offline techniques that give no insight into the online processing differences that may exist in ASD, and potentially reflect frequently reported comprehension difficulties. We recorded the eye-movements of participants with and without ASD as they read sentences that were were manipulated to include plausible (control condition), implausible (possible but highly unlikely) or anomalous (impossible) thematic relations. Preliminary findings indicate that the fixation patterns of the control and ASD groups did not differ when reading plausible sentences, but when reading implausible and anomalous sentences the ASD group showed a delayed disruption to reading. The semantic violations resulted in almost immediate disruption in the control group, as seen in first and single fixation durations, whereas the ASD group showed disruption in later stages of processing as indexed by go past and total reading times. The findings suggest that ASD readers may be less efficient at constructing an interpretation of a sentence and evaluating it against their world knowledge, and are in line with the Theory of Complex information Processing in ASD (Minshew & Goldstein, 1998).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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