British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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Volume 23 Issue 4 (November 2005), Pages 487-660

Pitch perception in children with autistic spectrum disorders (pages 543-558)

This study investigated the accuracy of musical pitch detection in children with autistic spectrum disorders as compared with typically developing children. Seventeen children on the autistic spectrum (Mage=9.34, SDage=1.12) and 13 typically developing, chronological age‐matched children (Mage=9.13, SDage=1.68) took part in the current study. Children were required to listen to four tones, which were paired with four different pictures and asked to learn the combinations. The children were then assessed for their ability to identify the previously learned tones, when they were presented as single tones and when they were embedded in chords and discords. No significant group differences were found. However, after subdividing the clinical group according to their diagnosis of autism or Asperger's syndrome, the results indicated a slightly superior disembedding ability in participants with Asperger's syndrome. The findings are discussed in terms of the weak central coherence concept.

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