Lexical Context Effects on Speech Perception in Chinese People with Autistic Traits
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One theory (weak central coherence) that accounts for a different perceptual-cognitive style in autism may suggest the possibility that individuals with autism are less likely to be affected by lexical knowledge on speech perception. This lexical context effects on speech perception has been evidenced by Ganong (1980) by using word-to-nonword identification test along a VOT dimension. This Ganong effect (which suggests that people tend to make their percept a real word) can be seen as one kind of central coherence. However, the boundary of the VOT contrast in Chinese is different from English, so the present study firstly explores the Ganong effect in Chinese and then adopts this effect in a neurotypical population of Chinese with different degrees of autistic traits in order to test the hypothesis. Seventeen graduate students of Chinese from Taiwan took part in the present experiment with the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) as their index of autistic traits and word-to-nonword identification task (die2-tie2 and tiao2-diao2). Other factors, such as auditory sensitivity and slower lexical access that may potentially influence reduced lexical context effects in autism are considered. The result indicated that Ganong effect was significant in Chinese as well and an inverse relationship between the identification shift (Ganong effect) and one of the subsections of AQ (‘attention todetail’) was significant. The AQ score or word-to-nonword identification task did not correlate with scores on tasks (that examined auditory sensitivity and slower lexical access). It suggested that those extraneous factors can be ruled out.