Prototypical Category Learning in High-Functioning Autism

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An ongoing debate in developmental cognitive neuroscience is whether individuals with autism are able to learn prototypical category representations from multiple exemplars. Prototype learning and memory were examined in a group of high-functioning autistic boys and young men, using a classic paradigm in which participants learned to classify novel dot patterns into one of two categories. Participants were trained on distorted versions of category prototypes until they reached a criterion level of performance. During transfer testing, participants were shown the training items together with three novel stimulus sets manifesting variable levels of physical distortion (low, medium, or high distortion) relative to the unseen prototypes. Two experiments were conducted, differing only in the manner in which the physical distortions were defined. In the first experiment, a subset of autistic individuals learned categories more slowly than controls, accompanied by an overall diminution in transfer-testing performance. The autism group did, however, manifest a typical pattern of performance across the testing conditions, relative to controls. In the second experiment, group means did not differ statistically in either the training or testing phases. Taken together, these data indicate that high-functioning autistic individuals do not manifest gross deficits in prototypical category learning. A theoretical discussion is given in terms of how perceptual grouping may interact with category learning.
Publisher
WILEY-BLACKWELL
Issue Date
2010-10
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Keywords

3D SURFACE PERCEPTION; HIERARCHICAL PATTERNS; VISUAL-SEARCH; CHILDRENS ANALYSIS; MEMORY; DISCRIMINATION; CATEGORIZATION; MICROGENESIS; ORGANIZATION; MECHANISMS

Citation

AUTISM RESEARCH, v.3, no.5, pp.226 - 236

ISSN
1939-3792
DOI
10.1002/aur.148
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/103313
Appears in Collection
EE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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