Altered semantic integration in autism beyond language: A cross-modal event-related potentials study

Tatiane C. Ribeiro, Claudia A. Valasek, Ludovico Minati, Paulo S. Boggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by impaired communication, particularly pragmatic and semantic language, resulting in verbal comprehension deficits. Semantic processing in these conditions has been studied extensively, but mostly limited only to linguistic material. Emerging evidence, however, suggests that semantic integration deficits may extend beyond the verbal domain. Here, we explored cross-modal semantic integration using visual targets preceded by musical and linguistic cues. Particularly, we have recorded the event-related potentials to evaluate whether the N400 and late positive potential (LPP) components, two widely studied electrophysiological markers of semantic processing, are differently sensitive to congruence with respect to typically developing children. Seven ASD patients and seven neurotypical participants matched by age, education and intelligence quotient provided usable data. Neuroelectric activity was recorded in response to visual targets that were related or unrelated to a preceding spoken sentence or musical excerpt. The N400 was sensitive to semantic congruence in the controls but not the patients, whereas the LPP showed a complementary pattern. These results suggest that semantic processing in ASD children is also altered in the context of musical and visual stimuli, and point to a functional decoupling between the generators of the N400 and LPP, which may indicate delayed semantic processing. These novel findings underline the importance of exploring semantic integration across multiple modalities in ASDs and provide motivation for further investigation in large clinical samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-418
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroReport
Volume24
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 29 2013

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Autistic Disorder
Evoked Potentials
Semantics
Language
Linguistics
Intelligence
Cues
Motivation
Communication
Education
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Event-related potentials
  • Late positive potential
  • Music
  • N400 component
  • Semantic priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Altered semantic integration in autism beyond language : A cross-modal event-related potentials study. / Ribeiro, Tatiane C.; Valasek, Claudia A.; Minati, Ludovico; Boggio, Paulo S.

In: NeuroReport, Vol. 24, No. 8, 29.05.2013, p. 414-418.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ribeiro, Tatiane C. ; Valasek, Claudia A. ; Minati, Ludovico ; Boggio, Paulo S. / Altered semantic integration in autism beyond language : A cross-modal event-related potentials study. In: NeuroReport. 2013 ; Vol. 24, No. 8. pp. 414-418.
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