“Children with autism spectrum disorder show pronoun reversals in interpretation”: Correction to Overweg, Hartman, and Hendriks (2018).

Reports an error in “Children with autism spectrum disorder show pronoun reversals in interpretation” by Jessica Overweg, Catharina A. Hartman and Petra Hendriks (Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2018[Feb], Vol 127[2], 228-238). In the article there is an error in Figure 2. The Dutch sentence “Varken zei dat hij de auto krijgt” should be “Varken zei dat ik de auto krijg” (with the first-person pronoun “ik” instead of the third-person pronoun “hij” and the first-person inflected verb “krijg” instead of the third-person inflected verb “krijgt”). (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2018-09964-009.) Pronoun reversals, saying you when meaning I, in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are generally viewed as manifesting in early development and speech production only. This study investigates pronoun reversals in later development (age 6–12) in interpretation in 48 Dutch-speaking children with ASD and 43 typically developing (TD) peers. We contrasted children’s interpretation of I and you in indirect and direct speech reports, with the latter type requiring an additional perspective shift. To examine which cognitive processes are involved in pronoun interpretation, additional tasks were administered to measure Theory of Mind (ToM) understanding, cognitive inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory. We found that children with ASD showed more problems than TD children interpreting pronouns in direct speech, resulting in pronoun reversals in interpretation. Children with ASD hardly improved with age. Older children with ASD thus showed more pronoun reversals than did their TD peers. ToM understanding, working memory, IQ, and verbal ability, but not inhibition and flexibility, were associated with pronoun interpretation. ToM understanding in particular was associated with correct pronoun interpretation in older TD children relative to younger TD children, but this improvement was not found in children with ASD. These findings indicate that pronoun reversals most likely result from perspective-shifting difficulties. We conclude that pronoun reversals are more pronounced in individuals with ASD, occur beyond early development, and require sufficient cognitive resources. The relation with ToM understanding, but not inhibition and flexibility, suggests that pronoun reversals are best classified as a social communication problem in the diagnosis of ASD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)