Aug 27, 2022

Autistic people demonstrate speech rhythm differences that are consistent across languages, study finds

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Findings from a machine learning study suggest that some of the speech differences associated with autism are consistent across languages, while others are language-specific. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, was conducted among separate samples of English speakers and Cantonese speakers.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is often accompanied by differences in speech prosody. Speech prosody describes aspects of speech, like rhythm and intonation, that help us express emotions and convey meaning with our words. Atypical speech prosody can interfere with a person’s communication and social abilities, for example, by causing a person to misunderstand others or be misunderstood themselves. The reason these speech differences commonly present among autistic people is not fully understood.

Study author Joseph C. Y. Lau and his team wanted to shed light on this topic by studying prosodic features associated with autism across two typologically distinct languages.

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