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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access September 29, 2010

Perception of dynamic facial emotional expressions in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Roy Kessels, Pieter Spee and Angelique Hendriks


Previous studies have shown deficits in the perception of static emotional facial expressions in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but results are inconclusive. Possibly, using dynamic facial stimuli expressing emotions at different levels of intensities may produce more robust results, since these resemble the expression of emotions in daily life to a greater extent. 30 Young adolescents with high-functioning ASD (IQ>85) and 30 age- and intelligence-matched controls (ages between 12 and 15) performed the Emotion Recognition Task, in which morphs were presented on a computer screen, depicting facial expressions of the six basic emotions (happiness, disgust, fear, anger, surprise and sadness) at nine levels of emotional intensity (20–100%). The results showed no overall group difference on the ERT, apart from a slightly worse performance on the perception of the emotions fear (p<0.03) and disgust (p<0.05). No interaction was found between intensity level of the emotions and group. High-functioning individuals with ASD perform similar to matched controls on the perception of dynamic facial emotional expressions, even at low intensities of emotional expression. These findings are in agreement with other recent studies showing that emotion perception deficits in high-functioning ASD may be less pronounced than previously thought.

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Published Online: 2010-9-29
Published in Print: 2010-9-1

© 2010 Versita Warsaw

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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