The influence of cognitive abilities on article choice and scrambling performance in Dutch-speaking children with autism

Jeannette Schaeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study addresses the question as to what cognitive abilities influence performance on article choice and direct object scrambling in high-functioning Dutch-speaking children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Schaeffer (2016/2018) shows that a group of 27 high-functioning Dutch-speaking children with ASD, aged 5–14, overgenerates the indefinite article, and fails to scramble significantly more often than TD age-mates. As article choice, direct object scrambling, and false belief are all hypothesized to rely on perspective taking, we first predict a correlation between scores on article choice, direct object scrambling, and false belief. Furthermore, hypothesizing that article choice and direct object scrambling require holding the previous discourse in mind, it is predicted that memory abilities predict article choice and direct object scrambling performance. Surprisingly, the results reveal no correlation between article choice, direct object scrambling, and false belief. Moreover, no influence of working memory was found, nor of inhibition or morphosyntax, which were also tested. Phonological memory turns out to be the only cognitive ability that predicts scores on direct object scrambling (but not on article choice!). It is suggested that another cognitive skill may contribute to article choice and/or direct object scrambling, namely, central coherence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-194
Number of pages29
JournalLanguage Acquisition
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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