Categorization in ASD: The Role of Typicality and Development There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) differ in the way in which they cognitively process information. A critical aspect of cognitive processing that is receiving more attention in studies of ASD is categorization. The studies presented here examined the effect of ... Article
Article  |   March 2012
Categorization in ASD: The Role of Typicality and Development
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Holly Zajac Gastgeb
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mark S. Strauss
    Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • © 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Autism Spectrum / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions
Article   |   March 2012
Categorization in ASD: The Role of Typicality and Development
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2012, Vol. 19, 66-74. doi:10.1044/lle19.2.66
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2012, Vol. 19, 66-74. doi:10.1044/lle19.2.66

There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) differ in the way in which they cognitively process information. A critical aspect of cognitive processing that is receiving more attention in studies of ASD is categorization. The studies presented here examined the effect of typicality on categorization of objects and gender in high-functioning children, adolescents, and adults with ASD and matched controls. The ASD and control groups showed improved categorization throughout the lifespan for typical and somewhat typical object category members and typical gender faces. However, individuals with ASD took more time to categorize atypical object category members and were less accurate in categorizing atypical gender faces from age 8–12 years through adulthood. We will discuss the implications of these results for teaching categories and category labels to individuals with ASD.

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