Reduced Neural Specialization for Word-level Linguistic Prosody in Children with Autism

Luodi Yu, Dan Huang, Suiping Wang, Yang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Children with autism often show atypical brain lateralization for speech and language processing, however, it is unclear what linguistic component contributes to this phenomenon. Here we measured event-related potential (ERP) responses in 21 school-age autistic children and 25 age-matched neurotypical (NT) peers during listening to word-level prosodic stimuli. We found that both groups displayed larger late negative response (LNR) amplitude to native prosody than to nonnative prosody; however, unlike the NT group exhibiting left-lateralized LNR distinction of prosodic phonology, the autism group showed no evidence of LNR lateralization. Moreover, in both groups, the LNR effects were only present for prosodic phonology but not for phoneme-free prosodic acoustics. These results extended the findings of inadequate neural specialization for language in autism to sub-lexical prosodic structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4351-4367
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number11
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [31728009, 31900775], a University of Minnesota College of Liberal Art Brain Imaging Research Project Award and a University of Minnesota Grand Challenges Research Grant. We thank our participants and their families, as well as the staff and students who assisted with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Autism
  • EEG
  • Language lateralization
  • Neural specialization
  • Word prosody

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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