Automatic and controlled processing and the Broad Autism Phenotype

Amy Camodeca, Sylvia Voelker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Research related to verbal fluency in the Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) is limited and dated, but generally suggests intact abilities in the context of weaknesses in other areas of executive function (Hughes et al., 1999; Wong et al., 2006; Delorme et al., 2007). Controlled processing, the generation of search strategies after initial, automated responses are exhausted (Spat, 2013), has yet to be investigated in the BAP, and may be evidenced in verbal fluency tasks. One hundred twenty-nine participants completed the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System Verbal Fluency test (D-KEFS; Delis et al., 2001) and the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ; Hurley et al., 2007). The BAP group (n = 53) produced significantly fewer total words during the 2nd 15″ interval compared to the Non-BAP (n = 76) group. Partial correlations indicated similar relations between verbal fluency variables for each group. Regression analyses predicting 2nd 15″ interval scores suggested differentiation between controlled and automatic processing skills in both groups. Results suggest adequate automatic processing, but slowed development of controlled processing strategies in the BAP, and provide evidence for similar underlying cognitive constructs for both groups. Controlled processing was predictive of Block Design score for Non-BAP participants, and was predictive of Pragmatic Language score on the BAPQ for BAP participants. These results are similar to past research related to strengths and weaknesses in the BAP, respectively, and suggest that controlled processing strategy use may be required in instances of weak lower-level skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Feb 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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