Speech Rate Entrainment in Children and Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
NIH, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) 1R21DC016084-01
NIH, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Conversational entrainment, a phenomenon whereby people modify their behaviors to match their communication partner, has been evidenced as critical to successful conversation. It is plausible that deficits in entrainment contribute to the conversational breakdowns and social difficulties exhibited by people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined speech rate entrainment in children and adult populations with and without ASD.
Sixty participants including typically developing children, children with ASD, typically developed adults, and adults with ASD participated in a quasi-conversational paradigm with a pseudoconfederate. The confederate's speech rate was digitally manipulated to create slow and fast speech rate conditions.
Typically developed adults entrained their speech rate in the quasi-conversational paradigm, using a faster rate during the fast speech rate conditions and a slower rate during the slow speech rate conditions. This entrainment pattern was not evident in adults with ASD or in children populations.
Findings suggest that speech rate entrainment is a developmentally acquired skill and offers preliminary evidence of speech rate entrainment deficits in adults with ASD. Impairments in this area may contribute to the conversational breakdowns and social difficulties experienced by this population. Future work is needed to advance this area of inquiry.
Wynn, C. J., Borrie, S. A., & Sellers, T. P. (2018). Speech Rate Entrainment in Children and Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27(3), 965–974. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0134