Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Emily Coderre

Graduate Student Mentors

Emme O'Rourke

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

Presentation Title

The Roles of Semantic Relatedness and Narrative Structure in Narrative Comprehension in ASD

Time

1:00 PM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Health Sciences

Abstract

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often struggle with narrative comprehension. These global difficulties may be related to impairments in semantic processing and understanding the narrative syntax or story arc, which are necessary for narrative comprehension. However, most studies investigating semantic processing and narrative structure in ASD have used written or spoken narratives, making it difficult to isolate those processes because of interference from other potential language deficits. Therefore, using visual narratives is ideal in exploring narrative comprehension and the underlying roles of semantic and structural processing in ASD.

Previous work has shown impaired semantic processing for both linguistic and visual narratives in ASD (Coderre et al., 2018), but it remains to be seen whether impairments in structural sequencing abilities might also contribute to difficulties in narrative comprehension. To explore this, we replicated a previous study of sequential image comprehension (Cohn et al., 2012) in a population of adults with ASD and a control group of typically-developing (TD) adults. Stimuli were adapted from Peanutscomic strips and consisted of normal sequences (containing both meaning between panels and narrative structure); semantic-only sequences (containing meaning but no structure); structural-only sequences (containing a structure but no semantic relatedness); and scrambled sequences (randomly-ordered panels with neither semantic relatedness nor narrative structure). We evaluated semantic processing by comparing the effect of sequence type on the N400 component of the event-related potential (ERP), and structural processing through the left anterior negativity (LAN) effect.

Preliminary data analysis has shown similar N400 patterns between ASD and TD groups, suggesting visuo-semantic processing may be intact for individuals with ASD. Current analysis is also exploring the possible presence of a LAN, which is not yet observable due to the sample size, and the effect of panel position on N400 amplitude.

References

Coderre, E. L., Cohn, N., Slipher, S. K., Chernenok, M., Ledoux, K., & Gordon, B. (2018). Visual and linguistic narrative comprehension in autism spectrum disorders: Neural evidence for modality-independent impairments. Brain Lang, 186, 44-59. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2018.09.001

Cohn, N., Paczynski, M., Jackendoff, R., Holcomb, P. J., & Kuperberg, G. R. (2012). (Pea)nuts and bolts of visual narrative: Structure and meaning in sequential image comprehension. Cognitive Psychology, 65(1), 1-38. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2012.01.003

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The Roles of Semantic Relatedness and Narrative Structure in Narrative Comprehension in ASD

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often struggle with narrative comprehension. These global difficulties may be related to impairments in semantic processing and understanding the narrative syntax or story arc, which are necessary for narrative comprehension. However, most studies investigating semantic processing and narrative structure in ASD have used written or spoken narratives, making it difficult to isolate those processes because of interference from other potential language deficits. Therefore, using visual narratives is ideal in exploring narrative comprehension and the underlying roles of semantic and structural processing in ASD.

Previous work has shown impaired semantic processing for both linguistic and visual narratives in ASD (Coderre et al., 2018), but it remains to be seen whether impairments in structural sequencing abilities might also contribute to difficulties in narrative comprehension. To explore this, we replicated a previous study of sequential image comprehension (Cohn et al., 2012) in a population of adults with ASD and a control group of typically-developing (TD) adults. Stimuli were adapted from Peanutscomic strips and consisted of normal sequences (containing both meaning between panels and narrative structure); semantic-only sequences (containing meaning but no structure); structural-only sequences (containing a structure but no semantic relatedness); and scrambled sequences (randomly-ordered panels with neither semantic relatedness nor narrative structure). We evaluated semantic processing by comparing the effect of sequence type on the N400 component of the event-related potential (ERP), and structural processing through the left anterior negativity (LAN) effect.

Preliminary data analysis has shown similar N400 patterns between ASD and TD groups, suggesting visuo-semantic processing may be intact for individuals with ASD. Current analysis is also exploring the possible presence of a LAN, which is not yet observable due to the sample size, and the effect of panel position on N400 amplitude.

References

Coderre, E. L., Cohn, N., Slipher, S. K., Chernenok, M., Ledoux, K., & Gordon, B. (2018). Visual and linguistic narrative comprehension in autism spectrum disorders: Neural evidence for modality-independent impairments. Brain Lang, 186, 44-59. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2018.09.001

Cohn, N., Paczynski, M., Jackendoff, R., Holcomb, P. J., & Kuperberg, G. R. (2012). (Pea)nuts and bolts of visual narrative: Structure and meaning in sequential image comprehension. Cognitive Psychology, 65(1), 1-38. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2012.01.003