Krüger, Martina (2018). Prosodic Decoding and Encoding of Referential Givenness in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.


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The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the current knowledge of prosody competence in high-functioning individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by investigating the perception and production of referential givenness in this population. Previous studies have shown that the encoding and decoding of information structure by means of prosody poses an area that is particularly affected in adults with ASD. In a perception experiment, participants had to make judgements as to how far an item or person referred to by a target word sounds as if it is known or new. Results reveal that participants from the ASD group made significantly less use of prosody than participants from the control group did. In a production experiment, the ability of adults with ASD to encode referential givenness was investigated in a cooperative story-telling task. The findings for both the prosodic marking and the choice of referring expressions indicate that most of the speakers with ASD did not attenuate given information to the same extent as control speakers did. Taken together, the two experiments presented in this thesis provide further evidence for the assumption that pragmatic prosody represents an area of particular difficulty for individuals with ASD. Observations from both experiments have also confirmed that individuals with ASD tend to employ compensation mechanisms both in structured tasks and in every-day social encounters. While at first view, their use of prosody might not always appear strikingly deviant, a profound and detailed analysis might reveal subtle differences that, in sum, can lead to the impression of a speaker being less involved in conversation. The findings highlight the presence of prosodic deficits even in high-functioning adults with ASD and might help to better understand the difficulties encountered by people with ASD in speech-based communication and social encounters.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Krüger, Martinam.krueger@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-523634
Date: April 2018
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Institut für Linguistik > Phonetik
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Autism Spectrum DisorderEnglish
Referential GivennessEnglish
Date of oral exam: 10 July 2018
NameAcademic Title
Grice, MartineProf. Dr.
Vogeley, KaiProf. Dr. Dr.
Baumann, StefanPD Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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