Prosodic Entrainment in the Speech of Children/Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Project Investigator: Heike Lehnert-LeHouillier

Project Description:  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is on the rise – currently 1 in 59 children are affected. Individuals diagnosed with the disorder experience difficulties engaging in social communication. This, in turn, is closely related to core deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.

One of the ways via which social communication is related to the development and maintenance of relationships is through conversational entrainment – the process by which the speech and language of the conversational partners becomes more similar over the course of a conversation. Conversation partners who get along well, typically entrain to each other’s speech patterns over the course of a conversation, whereas a lack of such and alignment of speech features is indicative of a lesser degree of closeness in the relationship.

This project aims to investigate the entrainment of speech features, especially prosody, in children and teens with and without ASD. The goal of the project is to determine if differences in the entrainment of speech patterns in indivuals with ASD may be a contributing factor in the difficulties that these individuals experience with social communication.

Benfer Lab

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