Face Processing in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Independent or Interactive Processing of Facial Identity and Facial Expression?

  • Julia F. Krebs
  • Ajanta Biswas
  • Olivier Pascalis
  • Inge Kamp-Becker
  • Helmuth Remschmidt
  • Gudrun Schwarzer
Original Paper


The current study investigated if deficits in processing emotional expression affect facial identity processing and vice versa in children with autism spectrum disorder. Children with autism and IQ and age matched typically developing children classified faces either by emotional expression, thereby ignoring facial identity or by facial identity disregarding emotional expression. Typically developing children processed facial identity independently from facial expressions but processed facial expressions in interaction with identity. Children with autism processed both facial expression and identity independently of each other. They selectively directed their attention to one facial parameter despite variations in the other. Results indicate that there is no interaction in processing facial identity and emotional expression in autism spectrum disorder.


Autism Face processing Facial identity Emotional expression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia F. Krebs
    • 1
  • Ajanta Biswas
    • 2
  • Olivier Pascalis
    • 2
    • 4
  • Inge Kamp-Becker
    • 3
  • Helmuth Remschmidt
    • 3
  • Gudrun Schwarzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Developmental PsychologyJustus-Liebig-University GiessenGiessenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive NeuroscienceUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  3. 3.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryPhilipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Psychologie et NeuroCognitionUniversité Pierre Mendes FranceGrenobleFrance

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