Speech Rate Entrainment in Children and Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 06, 2018
Speech Rate Entrainment in Children and Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Camille J. Wynn
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan
  • Stephanie A. Borrie
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan
  • Tyra P. Sellers
    Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Utah State University, Logan
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Camille Wynn: cwynn214@gmail.com
  • Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Editor: Erinn Finke
    Editor: Erinn Finke×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 06, 2018
Speech Rate Entrainment in Children and Adults With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2018, Vol. 27, 965-974. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0134
History: Received August 23, 2017 , Revised October 16, 2017 , Accepted January 24, 2018
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2018, Vol. 27, 965-974. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0134
History: Received August 23, 2017; Revised October 16, 2017; Accepted January 24, 2018

Purpose 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.

Method 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.

Results 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.

Conclusion 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.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health Grant R21DC016084 (awarded to Stephanie A. Borrie). The data included in this report were presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in November 2016. We gratefully acknowledge Paul Vicioso Osoria for development of the web-based application for this study, Tyson Barret for statistical input, and research assistants in the Human Interaction Lab at Utah State University for assistance with data collection and analysis.
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