The takete-maluma phenomenon in autism spectrum disorders

Valeria Occelli*, Gianluca Esposito, Paola Venuti, Giuseppe Maurizio Arduino, Massimiliano Zampini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


It has been reported that people tend to preferentially associate phonemes like /m/,/l/,/n/ to curvilinear shapes and phonemes like /t /t/,/z/,/r/,/k/ to rectilinear shapes. Here we evaluated the performance of children/adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and neurotypical controls in this audiovisual congruency phenomenon. Pairs of visual patterns (curvilinear vs rectilinear) were presented to a group of ASD participants (low- or high-functioning) and a group of age-matched neurotypical controls. Participants were asked to associate each item to non-meaningful phoneme clusters. ASD participants showed a lower proportion of expected association responses than the controls. Within the ASD group the performance varied as a function of the severity of the symptomatology. These data suggest that children/adolescents with ASD show, although at different degrees as a function of the severity of the ASD, lower phonetic-iconic congruency response patterns than neurotypical controls, pointing to poorer multisensory integration capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-241
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Crossmodal correspondences
  • Pseudosynesthetic correspondences
  • Sound symbolism
  • Takete-maluma


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