Morphology in autism spectrum disorders: local processing bias and language

Mila Vulchanova, Joel B. Talcott, Valentin Vulchanov, Margarita Stankova, Hendrik Eshuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted a detailed study of a case of linguistic talent in the context of autism spectrum disorder, specifically Asperger syndrome. I.A. displays language strengths at the level of morphology and syntax. Yet, despite this grammar advantage, processing of figurative language and inferencing based on context presents a problem for him. The morphology advantage for I.A. is consistent with the weak central coherence (WCC) account of autism. From this account, the presence of a local processing bias is evident in the ways in which autistic individuals solve common problems, such as assessing similarities between objects and finding common patterns, and may therefore provide an advantage in some cognitive tasks compared to typical individuals. We extend the WCC account to language and provide evidence for a connection between the local processing bias and the acquisition of morphology and grammar.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-600
Number of pages17
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number7-8
Early online date31 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • weak central coherence
  • language development
  • asperger syndrome
  • exceptional skills
  • cognitive profile
  • morphology


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