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12-03-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2020 Open Access

Psychological Research 6/2020

Silent shapes and shapeless sounds: the robustness of the diminished crossmodal correspondences effect in autism spectrum conditions

Psychological Research > Uitgave 6/2020
Magdalena Ewa Król, Kinga Ferenc
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-019-01163-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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We performed a registered replication of the Oberman and Ramachandran (Soc Neurosci 3(3–4):348–355, 2008) study on the ‘kiki/bouba’ effect in autism spectrum conditions (ASC). The aim of the study was to test the robustness of the diminished crossmodal correspondences effect in autism, but also to verify whether this effect is not an artifact of differences in intelligence. We tested a Polish-speaking sample of 21 participants with ADOS-confirmed autism spectrum conditions (mean age 15.90) and 21 age- (mean age 15.86), sex- and IQ-matched neurotypical control participants. Procedure closely followed the replicated study. Participants’ task was to match five pairs of unfamiliar words and shapes. Matching words and shapes had similar supramodal characteristics that allowed the match. We report partial replication of the diminished ‘kiki/bouba’ effect in individuals with ASC compared to the neurotypical control group. However, we found that nonverbal intelligence also significantly contributed to task performance, but only in participants with autism, suggesting a compensatory role of intelligence. Finally, the effect of autism severity (measured by ADOS classification) was significant—crossmodal correspondences were weaker in individuals with autism, compared to those with autism spectrum diagnosis.

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