Linguistics ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-24-2020


Social deficits are a key diagnostic feature for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may be a promising treatment modality to enhance interventions that are currently extremely time- and labor-intensive. This three-article dissertation investigates tDCS applied over the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) paired with social functioning and social cognition interventions with adults with ASD, examining measures of social functioning, verbal fluency, social skills, empathy, and facial emotion recognition and processing. Results of these studies show significant differences in performance on several measures after receipt of verum, anodal tDCS over the rTPJ. Theoretical implications are examined within a Language in Motion Framework that discusses perceptible signals, usage-based events, and skilled actions whose implementation in the brain can be explained by neuroscience. This research advances our understanding of how social functioning and social cognition are modulated utilizing tDCS applied over the rTPJ for individuals with ASD.




transcranial direct current stimulation, autism spectrum disorder, right temporoparietal junction, social cognition, social functioning, Language in Motion

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Linguistics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Sherman Wilcox

Second Committee Member

Barbara Rodriguez

Third Committee Member

Jill Morford

Fourth Committee Member

Claudia Tesche

Fifth Committee Member

Dina Hill