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Do Individuals with Autism Process Categories Differently? The Role of Typicality

Gastgeb, Holly Zajac (2006) Do Individuals with Autism Process Categories Differently? The Role of Typicality. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A critical cognitive ability that has received relatively little attention in individuals with autism is the ability to form categories. Previous studies of categorization in individuals with autism have found mixed results, some indicating that these individuals have a deficit in categorization and others suggesting that they do not. These studies are limited, however, because they have not closely investigated the role that typicality or task complexity may have on categorization. The current study addresses these issues by examining the effect of exemplar typicality on both the reaction times and accuracy of categorizing basic level exemplars. High-functioning children, teens, and adults with autism and matched controls were tested in a category verification procedure. Results indicate that the processing and accuracy of categorization improves throughout the lifespan for typical and somewhat typical category exemplars, but that processing differences are found throughout the lifespan with respect to atypical or poor category exemplars. The results are discussed in relation to potential differences in the type of processing that may be required for categorizing typical and atypical category members. Parallels are also drawn between the results of the current studies and the results of previous studies on face processing in individuals with autism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gastgeb, Holly Zajachoz8@pitt.eduHOZ8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStrauss, Mark Sstrauss@pitt.eduSTRAUSS
Committee MemberIverson, Jana Mjiverson@pitt.eduJIVERSON
Committee MemberCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Date: 20 March 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 October 2005
Approval Date: 20 March 2006
Submission Date: 5 December 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: atypical development; typical development
Other ID:, etd-12052005-134908
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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