Distinct patterns of discrimination and orienting for temporal processing of speech and nonspeech in Chinese children with autism: an event-related potential study

Dan Huang, Luodi Yu, Xiaoyue Wang, Yuebo Fan, Suiping Wang, Yang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although many studies have reported domain-general impaired duration perception for speech and nonspeech sounds in children with autism, it remained unclear whether this phenomenon is universally applicable regardless of language background. In some languages such as Finnish and Japanese, vowel duration serves a phonemic role that can signify semantic distinction, and in others (e.g., Mandarin Chinese), vowel duration does not carry this phonemic function. The present event-related potential study investigated neural sensitivity to duration contrasts in speech and nonspeech contexts in Mandarin-speaking children with autism and a control group of age-matched typically developing (TD) children. A passive oddball paradigm was adopted to elicit the mismatch negativity (MMN) and involuntary orienting response (P3a) for change detection. A pure tone condition and a vowel condition were used. The MMN results showed that the autism group had diminished response amplitude and delayed latency in the pure tone condition compared to the TD group, whereas no group difference was found in the vowel condition. The P3a results showed no significant between-group MMN difference in the pure tone condition. In the vowel condition, the autism group had smaller P3a than the TD group. Together, the distinct patterns of discrimination and orienting responses for duration contrasts in pure tones and vowels are consistent with the ‘allophonic perception’ theory for autism, which may reflect a compromised perceptual weighting system for speech learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-668
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume47
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 31571136), Key Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (15AZD048), as well as Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2014A030311016) to Suiping Wang. Zhang was additionally supported by the Natural Science Foundation

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 31571136), Key Project of National Social Science Foundation of China (15AZD048), as well as Key Project of National Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (2014A030311016) to Suiping Wang. Zhang was additionally supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 31728009), University of Minnesota's Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grant Award and Brain Imaging Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts. We thank Yang Fan, Guiwen He, Xiaoyun Wu, and Kai Fan for their assistance.

Funding Information:
of China (NSFC 31728009), University of Minnesota’s Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grant Award and Brain Imaging Research Award from the College of Liberal Arts. We thank Yang Fan, Guiwen He, Xiaoyun Wu, and Kai Fan for their assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • autism
  • mismatch negativity
  • perceptual weighting
  • speech perception
  • temporal processing

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