The use of action phrases in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Previous research has shown that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be able to perceive the intentions of another individual through tool use (e.g., Aldridge et al., 2000; Gonzalez et al., 2013). However, it is not well understood how individuals with ASD respond to an indirect connection between an extrapolated action and the required object. To address this question, we employed action phrases that indirectly provided the contextual information about which object to use. Individuals with ASD, and sex and age matched typically developing peers, were asked to pick which object would be needed to complete the task described in a sentence displayed on a computer screen. Although individuals with ASD exhibited slower response times overall, their accuracy scores were comparable to typically developing individuals. The longer response times support the notion that individuals with ASD may have a harder time disengaging their initial perceived use for the object before considering other inherent action possibilities afforded by the object.
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