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05-02-2021 | Original Paper Open Access

Implicit Semantic Processing of Linguistic and Non-linguistic Stimuli in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Emme O’Rourke, Emily L. Coderre
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While many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience difficulties with language processing, non-linguistic semantic processing may be intact. We examined neural responses to an implicit semantic priming task by comparing N400 responses—an event-related potential related to semantic processing—in response to semantically related or unrelated pairs of words or pictures. Adults with ASD showed larger N400 responses than typically developing adults for pictures, but no group differences occurred for words. However, we also observed complex modulations of N400 amplitude by age and by level of autistic traits. These results offer important implications for how groups are delineated and compared in autism research.

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