J Autism Dev Disord 2007 Sep 4;37(8):1539-49. Epub 2006 Nov 4.
Cognitive Laboratory, Clinical Neurophysiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Many people with the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome (AS) show poorly developed skills in understanding emotional messages. The present study addressed discrimination of speech prosody in children with AS at neurophysiological level. Detection of affective prosody was investigated in one-word utterances as indexed by the N1 and the mismatch negativity (MMN) of auditory event-related potentials (ERPs). Data from fourteen boys with AS were compared with those for thirteen typically developed boys. These results suggest atypical neural responses to affective prosody in children with AS and their fathers, especially over the RH, and that this impairment can already be seen at low-level information processes. Our results provide evidence for familial patterns of abnormal auditory brain reactions to prosodic features of speech.