Do children with Autism Spectrum Disorder benefit from structural alignment when constructing categories?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Center for Autism Research
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Individuals with ASD seem to construct categories via processes different to typically developing individuals. We examined whether individuals with ASD engage in structural alignment of exemplars when constructing categories. We taught children with ASD and typically developing children novel nouns for either single or multiple exemplars, and then examined their extensions of the learned nouns to objects that were either a perceptual or conceptual match to the original exemplar(s). Results indicated that, unlike typically developing participants, those with ASD gained no benefit from seeing multiple exemplars of the category and, thus, did not appear to engage in structural alignment in their formation of categories. However, they demonstrated superior performance compared to typically developing children when presented with a single exemplar.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date3 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Apr 2018


  • Autism, ASD, category learning, structural alignment, language learning