Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Visual Responses to Implicit Emotional Faces

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102334-1



Individuals with ASD present with difficulties in understanding and maintaining social interactions, and impaired emotional face processing is a crucial feature of ASD that might be responsible for impairments in the social cognition domain. As acknowledged by a large literature, children and adults with ASD have difficulties in interpreting and categorizing emotional faces, which might be related to avoidance of the eye region of the face. For example, those with ASD might avoid direct gaze from others and thus not respond in an adapted manner to the social content of others’ facial expressions (e.g., not returning a smile). Nevertheless, considerable heterogeneity characterizes both behavioural and neuroimaging studies (Jemel et al. 2006), showing that different results can be found depending on the participants’ demographics (e.g., age, severity of autism, language, and/or intellectual level) or on experimental design choices.


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References and Readings

  1. Jemel, B., Mottron, L., & Dawson, M. (2006). Impaired face processing in autism: Fact or artifact? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 91–106.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-005-0050-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fondation Ophtalmologique A. de RothschildInstitut de Neuropsychologie, Neurovision et NeuroCognitionParisFrance
  2. 2.CNRS (Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition Center, UMR 8002)ParisFrance
  3. 3.Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris CitéParisFrance
  4. 4.Université de Toulouse, CERPPSToulouseFrance
  5. 5.Department of Diagnostic ImagingThe Hospital for the Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Neuroscience and Mental Health ProgrammeThe Hospital for the Sick Children Research InstituteTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Department of Medical ImagingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada