Date of Completion

8-24-2011

Embargo Period

8-3-2011

Advisors

Deborah Fein; James (Jim) Magnuson

Field of Study

Psychology

Degree

Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have impairments in language acquisition, but the underlying mechanism of these deficits is poorly understood. Implicit learning appears potentially relevant to language development, particularly in speech segmentation, which relies on sensitivity to the transitional probabilities between speech sounds. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between implicit learning and current language abilities in school-aged children with autism (n = 17) and typical development (n = 24) using a well-studied artificial language learning task. Results suggest that the ASD and TD groups were equally able to implicitly learn transitional probabilities from a lengthy stimulus stream. Furthermore, task performance was not strongly associated with current language abilities. Implications for implicit learning research in ASD are discussed.

Major Advisor

Inge-Marie Eigsti

COinS