HCAS People Contact Information

    Fabianinkatu 24 (P.O. Box 4)
    00014 University of Helsinki

    Tel. +358 2 941 21735



Facebook banner link


Twitter link

youtube banner link


Mari Wiklund

PhD, University of Helsinki

Room 252

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Tel: + 358 (0)2941 23468    
Email mari.wiklund (AT) helsinki.fi


Research Interests

  • Autism
  • Prosody (French and Finnish)
  • Gaze behavior
  • Misunderstanding situations
  • Speech disfluencies

Current Research

Interaction of Preadolescents with Autism - Focus on Speech Prosody, Gaze Behavior and Misunderstanding Situations

Persons afflicted with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often have prominent prosodic features in their speech. By creating an impression of oddness, these features can constitute a significant obstacle to the social acceptance of the individual. They also affect ASD speakers ratings of social and communicative competence. The crucial role of eye contact in fluent interaction has long been acknowledged.

One of the key features of normal gaze behavior is that listeners look at speakers. ASD subjects are deficient in this gaze response. Gaze constituting such an important interactional resource, ASD persons tendency to avoid eye contact may affect the fluidity of conversations and cause misunderstandings. For this reason, it is important to know the precise ways in which the gaze avoidance is done, and the ways in which it affects the interaction.

This project aims at discovering prosodic features and gaze behavior that characterize people afflicted with ASD independently of the mother tongue and the cultural environment of the person. In addition, the project aims at discovering the role of the prosodic features and the direction of gaze in misunderstanding situations occurring in ASD peoples interaction. Methodologically, two different viewpoints will be adopted. One of these is qualitative (conversation analysis) and the other one is quantitative (experimental and instrumental phonetics).