, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 100-111
Date: 04 Aug 2009

Responses to Nonverbal Behaviour of Dynamic Virtual Characters in High-Functioning Autism

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We investigated feelings of involvement evoked by nonverbal behaviour of dynamic virtual characters in 20 adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) and high IQ as well as 20 IQ-matched control subjects. The effects of diagnostic group showed that subjects with autism experienced less “contact” and “urge” to establish contact across conditions and less “interest” than controls in a condition with meaningful facial expressions. Moreover, the analyses within groups revealed that nonverbal behaviour had less influence on feelings in HFA subjects. In conclusion, disturbances of HFA subjects in experiencing involvement in social encounters with virtual characters displaying nonverbal behaviour do not extend to all kinds of feelings, suggesting different pathways in the ascription of involvement in social situations.