Ability of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Identify Emotional Facial Expressions
Lorenzi, Jill Elizabeth
MetadataShow full item record
Previous research on emotion identification in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) has demonstrated inconsistent results. While some studies have cited a deficit in emotion identification for individuals with ASD compared to controls, others have failed to find a difference. Many studies have used static photographs that do not capture subtle details of dynamic, real-life facial expressions that characterize authentic social interactions, and therefore have not been able to provide complete information regarding emotion identification. The current study aimed to build upon prior research by using dynamic, talking videos where the speaker expresses emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, and excitement, both with and without a voice track. Participants included 10 children with ASD between the ages of four and 12, and 10 gender- and mental age-matched children with typical development between six and 12. Overall, both ASD and typically developing groups performed similarly in their accuracy, though the group with typical development benefited more from the addition of voice. Eye tracking analyses considered the eye region and mouth as areas of interest (AOIs). Eye tracking data from accurately identified trials resulted in significant main effects for group (longer and more fixations for participants with typical development) and condition (longer and more fixations on voiced emotions), and a significant condition by AOI interaction, where participants fixated longer and more on the eye region in the voiced condition compared to the silent condition, but fixated on the mouth approximately the same in both conditions. Treatment implications and directions for future research are discussed.
- Masters Theses