Can children with autism read emotions from the eyes? The eyes test revisited

Franco, Fabia and Itakura, Shoji and Pomorska, Krystyna and Abramowski, Anna and Nikaido, Kozue and Dimitriou, Dagmara (2014) Can children with autism read emotions from the eyes? The eyes test revisited. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35 (5). pp. 1015-1026. ISSN 0891-4222

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This study aimed to test two new, simplified tasks related to the eye-test, targeting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and typically developing controls (TD). Test-1 assessed the recognition of emotion/mental states with displays using one word and two eye-pictures, whereas Test-2 presented displays using two words and one eye-picture. Black and white photographs of children were used as materials. A cross-cultural study (Caucasian/East-Asian) with adults was initially carried out to verify generalizability across different ethnic groups. Cross-sectional trajectory analyses were used to compare emotion recognition from the eyes in the two tests. Trajectories were constructed linking performance on both tests either to chronological age or to different measures of mental age (receptive vocabulary based on the BPVS, CARS or ASQ for the ASD group). Performance improved with chronological age in both the ASD and TD groups of children. However, performance in Test-1 was significantly superior in children with ASD, who showed delayed onset and slower rate of improvement than TD children in Test-2. In both the ASD and TD groups the lowest error rate was recorded for the item ‘anger’, suggesting that threat-detection cue mechanisms may be intact in Autism. In general, all children showed good performance on our novel tests, thus making them good candidates for assessing younger children and those with lower general abilities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: published online 11 March 2014
Keywords (uncontrolled): ASD; Emotion recognition; Eye-test; Developmental disorders; Theory of mind (ToM)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Language, Learning and Cognition group
Item ID: 13154
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Fabia Franco
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2014 13:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2018 22:30

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