Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 2363–2371 | Cite as

Understanding One’s Own Emotions in Cognitively-Able Preadolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Esther Ben-ItzchakEmail author
  • Shira Abutbul
  • Hadas Bela
  • Tom Shai
  • Ditza A. Zachor
Original Paper


There are still no straightforward answers as to whether understanding one’s own emotions is impaired in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study evaluated the perception of one’s own different emotions, based on the relevant section of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Module 3 test. Forty boys, aged 8–11 years, 20 diagnosed with ASD (IQ ≥ 85) and 20 typically developing children were included. Description of events that elicited specific emotions in ASD was characterized by more ‘odd’ statements and ‘no responses’ and less use of content related to ‘social situations’, ‘interpersonal’ and ‘self-awareness’. More ‘no responses’ and odd statements were associated with the severity of ASD symptoms. Clinicians should be aware of these differentiating factors during the diagnostic process of ASD.


Autism spectrum disorder Understanding one’s own emotions Coherence Autism symptoms severity 



We would like to thank our colleagues at the Autism Center for their assistance in this study. Some of the results of this study were presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in 2015.

Author Contributions

Prof’ Esther Ben-Itzchak and Prof’ Ditza A. Zachor, the principal investigators, involved in all the stages of the research: designing, data collection, data analysis, interpretation and writing of the manuscript. Shira Abutbul and Hadas Bela were involved in the data collection and analysis. Tom Shai was involved in the data analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. There were no changes in the authors’ affiliation subsequent to the time of the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esther Ben-Itzchak
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shira Abutbul
    • 1
  • Hadas Bela
    • 1
  • Tom Shai
    • 2
  • Ditza A. Zachor
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Communication DisordersAriel UniversityArielIsrael
  2. 2.The Autism Center, Department of PediatricsAssaf Harofeh Medical CenterZerifinIsrael
  3. 3.The Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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