Affect comprehension in children with pervasive developmental disorders

  • Mark Braverman
  • Deborah Fein
  • Dorothy Lucci
  • Lynn Waterhouse


Affect comprehension was studied in children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) and normal children matched for mental age. Three matching tasks were used: matching objects (a nonsocial control task), matching faces, and matching affects. The three tasks were developed to be of equal difficulty for normal children. Children were also tested for comprehension and expression of affect terms. The PDD children were impaired on affect matching relative to the normal controls. The PDD children were impaired on face and affect matching relative to their own performance on object matching, whereas the normal children were not. Within the PDD sample, object matching was correlated with mental age measures but not with measures of social behavior and play, but face and affect matching were significantly correlated with mental age as well as social behavior and play. Individual PDD children who showed relative deficits on face or affect matching tended to be more socially impaired than PDD children whose face and affect matching was consonant with their mental age. Results are discussed in terms of possible etiologies of the social deficit in PDD children, and the importance of subtypes within this population.


Normal Control Social Behavior School Psychology Developmental Disorder Normal Child 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Braverman
    • 1
  • Deborah Fein
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dorothy Lucci
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lynn Waterhouse
    • 4
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolHarvardUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of NeuropsychologyBoston University School of MedicineBoston
  3. 3.University of ConnecticutUSA
  4. 4.Trenton State CollegeTrentonUSA

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