Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 269–279 | Cite as

Enhancing Emotion Recognition in Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions: An Intervention Using Animated Vehicles with Real Emotional Faces

  • Ofer GolanEmail author
  • Emma Ashwin
  • Yael Granader
  • Suzy McClintock
  • Kate Day
  • Victoria Leggett
  • Simon Baron-CohenEmail author
Original paper


This study evaluated The Transporters, an animated series designed to enhance emotion comprehension in children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). n = 20 children with ASC (aged 4–7) watched The Transporters everyday for 4 weeks. Participants were tested before and after intervention on emotional vocabulary and emotion recognition at three levels of generalization. Two matched control groups of children (ASC group, n = 18 and typically developing group, n = 18) were also assessed twice without any intervention. The intervention group improved significantly more than the clinical control group on all task levels, performing comparably to typical controls at Time 2. We conclude that using The Transporters significantly improves emotion recognition in children with ASC. Future research should evaluate the series’ effectiveness with lower-functioning individuals.


Autism spectrum Children Emotion recognition Intervention Animation Intrinsic motivation 



We are grateful to Culture Online and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for funding, and to Catalyst Ltd and Culture Online (particularly Claire Harcup, Paul Bason, Khairoun Abji and Jon Drori) for their production of the film. We are also indebted to the families who participated in the intervention. We also thank Gina Owens, Kimberly Peabody, Ben Weiner and Ayla Humphrey for valuable discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ofer Golan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Emma Ashwin
    • 1
  • Yael Granader
    • 1
    • 3
  • Suzy McClintock
    • 1
  • Kate Day
    • 1
  • Victoria Leggett
    • 1
  • Simon Baron-Cohen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Autism Research Centre, Department of PsychiatryCambridge UniversityCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of PsychologyBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael
  3. 3.Ferkauf Graduate School of PsychologyYeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA

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