The McGurk Effect in Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Bebko, James M.
Schroeder, Jessica H.
Weiss, Jonathan A.
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Children with autism may have difficulties putting together what they see and hear during speech, which has been linked to understanding of speech and language development. However, little has been done to examine children with Asperger Syndrome as a group on tasks assessing integration of what is seen and heard during speech, despite this group’s often greater language skills. Samples of children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Down Syndrome, as well as a typically developing sample, were presented with an auditory-only condition, a speech-reading condition, and an audiovisual condition that involved mismatching auditory and visual signals. Children with Autism demonstrated auditory-only and speech-reading performance at the same level as the other groups, yet showed a lower performance on the audiovisual condition compared to the Asperger, Down and typical samples. These results suggest that children with Autism may have unique difficulties integrating what is seen and heard during speech perception that may be linked to how they mentally representation speech sounds.