Heikkinen et al. (2010)






AS = Asperger’s syndrome

NA = not applicable

P = participant or patient

pmh = Patricia Hargrove, blog developer

TYP = typically developing

WNL = within normal limits



SOURCE: Heikkinen, J., Jansson-Verkasalo, E., Toivanen, J., Kalervo, S., Väyrynen, E., Moilanen, I., & Seppänen, T. (2010). Perceptions of basic emotions from speech prosody in adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome. Logopedics Phonatrics Vovology, 35, 113-120



DATE: April 20, 2015



POPULATION: Asperger’s syndrome (AS); adolescents


PURPOSE: To investigate the ability of adolescents diagnosed with AS to perceive basic emotions from Finnish speech prosody



  • Finnish adolescents diagnosed with AS performed similarly to TYP peers on a task requiring them to discriminate which prosody signals basic emotion in a read passage.


  1. What type of evidence was identified? Prospective, Nonrandomized Group Comparison Design
  1. Group membership determination:
  • If there were groups were members of groups matched? Yes
  • The matching strategy involved matching on chronological age.
  1. Was participants’ communication status concealed?
  • from participants? No


  • from assessment administrators? No
  • from data analyzers? No



  1. Were the groups/participants adequately described? Yes

– How many participants were involved in the study?

  • total # of participants: 27
  • was group membership maintained throughout the experiment? Yes
  • # of groups: 2
  • List names of groups: AS; typically developing peers (TYP)
  • # of participants in each group: AS = 12; TYP = 15


The following variables were described (except where listed as controlled):           

  • age: mean age   14.5 (AS); 14.3 (TYP)
  • gender: 9m, 3f (AS); 8m, 7f [controlled variable]
  • cognitive skills: only AS scores were reported:

     – total IQ mean = 106

     – total IQ range = 84 to 119

     – verbal IQ mean = 107

     – performance IQ mean = 105

  • attention deficits: exclusion criteria
  • language deficits: exclusion criteria
  • learning problems: none reported (TYP)
  • psychiatric diagnosis: exclusion criteria
  • hearing: within normal limits (WNL)
  • mental illness: none reported (TYP)
  • first language: Finnish
  • educational level of clients: primary school (TYP);


– Were the communication problems adequately described?

  • disorder type: all AS Ps were diagnosed with AS.



  1. What were the different conditions for this research?
  • Subject (Classification) Groups? Yes:

Asperger’s syndrome group (AS)

— Typically developing group (TYP)


  • Experimental Conditions? Yes:

— Actors read sentences representing different emotional states:

  • Neutral (54 sentences)
  • Sad (18 sentences)
  • Happy (18 sentences)
  • Angry (18 sentences)


– Criterion/Descriptive Conditions? No


  1. Were the groups controlled acceptably? Yes



  1. Were dependent measures appropriate and meaningful? Yes

– The dependent measures were

  • Dependent Measure #1: Number of correct perceptions of neutral sentences
  • Dependent Measure #2: Number of correct perceptions of sad sentences
  • Dependent Measure #3: Number of correct perceptions of angry sentences
  • Dependent Measure #4: Number of correct perceptions of happy sentences


All the dependent measures were subjective.


– None of the dependent/ outcome measures were objective.



  1. Were reliability measures provided?
  • Interobserver for analyzers? No
  • Intraobserver for analyzers? No
  • Procedural fidelity for investigators? No


  1. Description of design:
  • Professional actors read the same passage several times in Finnish. Different emotions were depicted in the readings: neutral, sad, angry, and happy.
  • Ps listened to the passage using headphones and signaled their interpretation of the emotion represented in the passage by pressing a button above pictures of faces representing neutral, sad, angry, and happy emotions. The pictures were accompanied by printed words labeling the emotion represented by the face.
  • The Ps listened to a total of 108 sentences each (54 neutral, 18 sad, 18 angry, and 18 happy.)
  • The experimental task lasted 45 minutes.
  • The investigators analyzed the results using a 2 x 4 ANOVA (group x emotions) and correlations (age and number of correct responses)


  1. What were the results of the inferential statistical testing?
  • There was no significant between AS and TYP groups for average comprehension scores.
  • What was the statistical test used to determine significance? ANOVA
  • Were effect sizes provided? No
  • Were confidence interval (CI) provided? No


  1. What were the results of the correlational statistical testing?
  • Correlations between discrimination scores and age were not significant.
  • The statistical test used to determine correlation was two- tailed bivariate correlation coefficient.
  1. What were the results of the descriptive analysis
  • The investigators provided a confusion index.

– Rarely confused with other emotions: happy and sad

– Angry confused with: neutral, sad and less frequently happy

– Neutral was confused with: sad



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