The Relationship Between Early Neural Responses to Emotional Faces at Age 3 and Later Autism and Anxiety Symptoms in Adolescents with Autism
- 827 Downloads
Both autism spectrum (ASD) and anxiety disorders are associated with atypical neural and attentional responses to emotional faces, differing in affective face processing from typically developing peers. Within a longitudinal study of children with ASD (23 male, 3 female), we hypothesized that early ERPs to emotional faces would predict concurrent and later ASD and anxiety symptoms. Greater response amplitude to fearful faces corresponded to greater social communication difficulties at age 3, and less improvement by age 14. Faster ERPs to neutral faces predicted greater ASD symptom improvement over time, lower ASD severity in adolescence, and lower anxiety in adolescence. Early individual differences in processing of emotional stimuli likely reflect a unique predictive contribution from social brain circuitry early in life.
KeywordsAutism Face processing ERP Internalizing Anxiety
Support for this project was provided by NICHD and NIDCD PO1HD34565 and an Autism Speaks Meixner Translational Postdoctoral Fellowship (Neuhaus).
Conceptualization: GD, SW, AE; Methodology: GD, SW, AE, JM; Formal Analysis: EJ, EN; Investigation: SW, AE, LS, KB, EN; Writing - Original Draft: EN, SW; Writing - Review & Editing: all authors; Project Administration: GD, AE, SW.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
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.
- Baron-Cohen, S. (2005). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Beauchaine, T. P., & Webb, S. J. (in press). Developmental processes and psychophysiology. In J. T. Cacioppo, L. G. Tassinary, & G. G. Berntson (Eds.), Handbook of psychophysiology (4th ed.). Newyork: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Dawson, G., & Bernier, R. A. (2007). Social brain circuitry in autism. In D. Coch, G. Dawson, & K. Fischer (Eds.), Human behavior and the developing brain (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- de Klerk, C. C. J. M., Gliga, T., Charman, T., Johnson, M. H., & The BASIS Team. (2014). Face engagement during infancy predicts later face recognition ability in younger siblings of children with autism. Developmental Science, 17(4), 596–611.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1976). Pictures of facial affect. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
- Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2003). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
- May, T., Cornish, K., & Rinehart, N. J. (2015). Parent–child agreement using the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale and thermometer in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research and Treatment, Article ID 315495.Google Scholar
- Mullen, E. M. (1997). Mullen scales of early learning. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
- Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., Charman, T., Chandler, S., Loucas, T., & Baird, G. (2008). Psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders: Prevalence, comorbidity, and associated factors in a population-derived sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(8), 921–929.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Webb, S. J., Jones, E. J. H., Merkle, K., Namkung, J., Toth, K., Greenson, J., et al. (2010). Toddlers with elevated autism symptoms show slowed habituation to faces. Child Neuropsychology: A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 16(3), 255–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Webb, S. J., Neuhaus, E., & Faja, S. (in press). Face perception and learning in autism spectrum disorders. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1151059.