Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 7, pp 1517–1526 | Cite as

Recognition of Emotions in Autism: A Formal Meta-Analysis

  • Mirko Uljarevic
  • Antonia HamiltonEmail author
Original Paper


Determining the integrity of emotion recognition in autistic spectrum disorder is important to our theoretical understanding of autism and to teaching social skills. Previous studies have reported both positive and negative results. Here, we take a formal meta-analytic approach, bringing together data from 48 papers testing over 980 participants with autism. Results show there is an emotion recognition difficulty in autism, with a mean effect size of 0.80 which reduces to 0.41 when a correction for publication bias is applied. Recognition of happiness was only marginally impaired in autism, but recognition of fear was marginally worse than recognition of happiness. This meta-analysis provides an opportunity to survey the state of emotion recognition research in autism and to outline potential future directions.


Autism Emotion Face Meta-analysis Social 



We thank Uta Frith, Tony Atkinson and Anneli Kylliainen for helpful comments on this manuscript, and Zoran Uljarevic for help preparing parts of the tables.

Supplementary material

10803_2012_1695_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (101 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 101 kb)
10803_2012_1695_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (71 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 70 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 10 kb)
10803_2012_1695_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (62 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 62 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityCardiff, WalesUK
  2. 2.School of PsychologyUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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