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Processing of written irony in Autism Spectrum Disorder: an eye-movement study

Processing of written irony in Autism Spectrum Disorder: an eye-movement study
Processing of written irony in Autism Spectrum Disorder: an eye-movement study
Previous research has suggested that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulties understanding others communicative intent and with using contextual information to correctly interpret irony. We recorded the eye movements of typically developing (TD) adults ASD adults when they read statements that could either be interpreted as ironic or non-ironic depending on the context of the passage. Participants with ASD performed as well as TD controls in their comprehension accuracy for speaker's statements in both ironic and non-ironic conditions. Eye movement data showed that for both participant groups, total reading times were longer for the critical region containing the speaker's statement and a subsequent sentence restating the context in the ironic condition compared to the non-ironic condition. The results suggest that more effortful processing is required in both ASD and TD participants for ironic compared with literal non-ironic statements, and that individuals with ASD were able to use contextual information to infer a non-literal interpretation of ironic text. Individuals with ASD, however, spent more time overall than TD controls rereading the passages, to a similar degree across both ironic and non-ironic conditions, suggesting that they either take longer to construct a coherent discourse representation of the text, or that they take longer to make the decision that their representation of the text is reasonable based on their knowledge of the world.
irony, figurative language, autism, eye movements, weak central coherence, complex information processing
1939-3792
749-760
Au Yeung, Sheena
562efc22-fac4-4118-9564-e3211d17b70b
Kaakinen, J.K.
6336a820-8f38-40bd-8a55-cdfa18082f4c
Liversedge, Simon P.
3ebda3f3-d930-4f89-85d5-5654d8fe7dee
Benson, Valerie
4827cede-6668-4e3d-bded-ade4cd5e5db5
Au Yeung, Sheena
562efc22-fac4-4118-9564-e3211d17b70b
Kaakinen, J.K.
6336a820-8f38-40bd-8a55-cdfa18082f4c
Liversedge, Simon P.
3ebda3f3-d930-4f89-85d5-5654d8fe7dee
Benson, Valerie
4827cede-6668-4e3d-bded-ade4cd5e5db5

Au Yeung, Sheena, Kaakinen, J.K., Liversedge, Simon P. and Benson, Valerie (2015) Processing of written irony in Autism Spectrum Disorder: an eye-movement study. Autism Research, 8 (6), 749-760. (doi:10.1002/aur.1490). (PMID: 25962666 )

Record type: Article

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulties understanding others communicative intent and with using contextual information to correctly interpret irony. We recorded the eye movements of typically developing (TD) adults ASD adults when they read statements that could either be interpreted as ironic or non-ironic depending on the context of the passage. Participants with ASD performed as well as TD controls in their comprehension accuracy for speaker's statements in both ironic and non-ironic conditions. Eye movement data showed that for both participant groups, total reading times were longer for the critical region containing the speaker's statement and a subsequent sentence restating the context in the ironic condition compared to the non-ironic condition. The results suggest that more effortful processing is required in both ASD and TD participants for ironic compared with literal non-ironic statements, and that individuals with ASD were able to use contextual information to infer a non-literal interpretation of ironic text. Individuals with ASD, however, spent more time overall than TD controls rereading the passages, to a similar degree across both ironic and non-ironic conditions, suggesting that they either take longer to construct a coherent discourse representation of the text, or that they take longer to make the decision that their representation of the text is reasonable based on their knowledge of the world.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 28 February 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 May 2015
Published date: December 2015
Keywords: irony, figurative language, autism, eye movements, weak central coherence, complex information processing

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 378287
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/378287
ISSN: 1939-3792
PURE UUID: 692fdfad-b9a7-4b11-a301-c534946dddbd

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Jun 2015 10:44
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:15

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