Are Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Initially Attuned to Object Function Rather Than Shape for Word Learning?

Charlotte Field, Melissa Lynn Allen, Charles Neville Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

We investigate the function bias—generalising words to objects with the same function—in typically developing (TD) children, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and children with other developmental disorders. Across four trials, a novel object was named and its function was described and demonstrated. Children then selected the other referent from a shape match (same shape, different function) and function match (same function, different shape) object. TD children and children with ASD were ‘function biased’, although further investigation established that having a higher VMA facilitated function bias understanding in TD children, but having a lower VMA facilitated function bias understanding in children with ASD. This suggests that children with ASD are initially attuned to object function, not shape.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1219
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume46
Issue number4
Early online date14 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental disorder
  • Function bias
  • Shape bias
  • Word learning

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