Visual Responses to Implicit Emotional Faces
Individuals with ASD present with difficulties in understanding and maintaining social interactions, and impaired emotional face processing is a crucial feature of ASD that might be responsible for impairments in the social cognition domain. As acknowledged by a large literature, children and adults with ASD have difficulties in interpreting and categorizing emotional faces, which might be related to avoidance of the eye region of the face. For example, those with ASD might avoid direct gaze from others and thus not respond in an adapted manner to the social content of others’ facial expressions (e.g., not returning a smile). Nevertheless, considerable heterogeneity characterizes both behavioural and neuroimaging studies (Jemel et al. 2006), showing that different results can be found depending on the participants’ demographics (e.g., age, severity of autism, language, and/or intellectual level) or on experimental design choices.
References and Readings
- Kovarski, K., Mennella, R., Wong, S. M., Dunkley, B. T., Taylor, M. J., & Batty, M. (2019). Enhanced early visual responses during implicit emotional faces processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(3), 871–886. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3787-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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