Recognition of Emotions from Situational Contexts and the Impact of a Mind Reading Intervention in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


The present research examined recognition of basic (happy, fear, sad) and self-conscious (pride, embarrassment, guilt) emotions from situational contexts in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and neurotypical children (Study 1). Results showed that children with ASD were less accurate in recognizing fear, embarrassment, and guilt situations than neurotypical children. Additionally, the research explored whether recognition of these emotions from situational contexts could be improved in children with ASD after a 4-week computerized emotion intervention (Study 2). Following the intervention, children showed better recognition of embarrassment and guilt, but no improvement in recognizing fear. In children with ASD, significant negative relations were found between ASD symptomatology and recognition of guilt (Study 1), although ASD symptomatology did not impact the intervention’s efficacy (Study 2). Additional explanations for these findings are provided.

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This study was not funded by external granting agencies.

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Correspondence to Denise Davidson.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from the school district and school principals. Parental written consent and verbal consent from the children was obtained prior to the start of the study.

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Davidson, D., Hilvert, E., Winning, A.M. et al. Recognition of Emotions from Situational Contexts and the Impact of a Mind Reading Intervention in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021).

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  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Basic and self-conscious emotions
  • Emotion recognition
  • Mind reading intervention
  • Children