Physiological Arousal and Social Linguistic Perception in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Ncube, Busisiwe Louise
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Previous research suggests that social and communicative impairments in individuals with ASD may be related to difficulties in processing social linguistic information. Processing such information may be more difficult for individuals with ASD because they experience increased arousal in social situations. The objective of this study was to determine whether differences in arousal exist during social linguistic perception in children with ASD, when compared to arousal levels during perception of social non-linguistic and non-social non-linguistic stimuli. Potential influences of social anxiety and emotion were also explored. Nineteen children with ASDs and 19 typically developing children participated. Skin conductance responses (SCR) were used to measure arousal. Children with ASD were found to display increased SCRs to social stimuli when compared to non-social stimuli. No significant differences in SCRs were found between emotional and neutral stimulus conditions. Social anxiety was not related to differences in SCRs to social versus non-social stimuli.