Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 229-235

First online:

Brief Report: Cognitive Processing of Own Emotions in Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and in Their Relatives

  • Elisabeth HillAffiliated withInstitute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
  • , Sylvie BerthozAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Institut Mutualiste
  • , Uta FrithAffiliated withInstitute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London

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Difficulties in the cognitive processing of emotions—including difficulties identifying and describing feelings—are assumed to be an integral part of autism. We studied such difficulties via self-report in 27 high-functioning adults with autistic spectrum disorders, their biological relatives (n = 49), and normal adult controls (n = 35), using the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory. The individuals with autism spectrum disorders were significantly more impaired in their emotion processing and were more depressed than those in the control and relative groups.

Autism depression emotion processing alexithymia