Emotion recognition in faces and the use of visual context Vo in young people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders

Barry Wright*, Natalie Clarke, Jo Jordan, Andrew W. Young, Paula Clarke, Jeremy Miles, Kate Nation, Leesa Clarke, Christine Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We compared young people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) with age, sex and IQ matched controls on emotion recognition of faces and pictorial context. Each participant completed two tests of emotion recognition. The first used Ekman series faces. The second used facial expressions in visual context. A control task involved identifying occupations using visual context. The ability to recognize emotions in faces (with or without context) and the ability to identify occupations from context was positively correlated with both increasing age and IQ score. Neither a diagnosis of ASD nor a measure of severity (Autism Quotient score) affected these abilities, except that the participants with ASD were significantly worse at recognizing angry and happy facial expressions. Unlike the control group, most participants with ASD mirrored the facial expression before interpreting it. Test conditions may lead to results different from everyday life. Alternatively, deficits in emotion recognition in high-functioning ASD may be less marked than previously thought.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)607-626
    Number of pages20
    JournalAutism
    Volume12
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Keywords

    • Asperger syndrome
    • Autism
    • Central coherence
    • Emotion recognition
    • Facial expression
    • Visual context

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