Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.
Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Speech Pathology and Audiology
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual’s social communication, social interaction, and behavior (American Psychological Association, 2013). A striking feature that distinguishes some individuals with autism from their peers without autism is “atypical” prosody. A between-group study was conducted to investigate prosody, speech motor control, auditory processing of pitch, and trained listener ratings of prosodic “naturalness” among adolescents with ASD (n=17) compared to TD controls (n=17) matched for age, gender and language. The specific aims of this study were to: (1) determine if individuals with ASD have significant acoustic-perceptual differences in their receptive and expressive prosody; (2) identify the interrelationship between prosody and language, motor speech, and pitch processing abilities; and (3) investigate if there is an association between group membership (ASD vs. TD) and trained listener ratings of overall “naturalness” (natural versus unnatural) of the speakers’ speech. The findings of this study support that some individuals with autism perform with significantly less accuracy on receptive and expressive prosody tasks and had significantly longer duration of utterances in comparison to TD controls. There was a significant positive relationship between receptive vocabulary and expressive prosody in the ASD group, supporting the “Theoretical Interaction Model”, while expressive vocabulary and speech motor control did not explain variability in expressive prosody above and beyond receptive vocabulary.
Gargan, Colleen, "Acoustic and Perceptual Characteristics of Prosody in Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Impact of Language, Motor Speech, and Auditory Processing" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. 1964.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.