Electrophysiological Responses to Emotional Facial Expressions in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review
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Studies on processing of emotional faces in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown mixed findings. The goal of this systematic review was to investigate brain electrical responses to emotional facial expressions in individuals with ASD. We conducted a literature search of nine databases and grey literature sources up to Jan 2017, resulting in 943 studies. Eleven studies met inclusion criteria, with quality assessments varying from three to six out of 10. This systematic review demonstrates that individuals with ASD show a lack of sensitivity to different emotional expressions, especially fear, compared to their peers. Atypical brain responses in processing emotional faces may reflect the abnormalities in visual perception and information processing that are present early in life.
KeywordsEEG Facial expressions Autism spectrum disorder Systematic review
We would like to express our thanks to librarian Charlotte Beck who assisted in developing our search.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Zwicker is funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program, BC Children’s Hospital, Sunny Hill Foundation, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Zwicker has also received speaker honoraria from McGill University, University of Montreal, University of Toronto, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
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