Autism Journal Club

The autistic child's appraisal of expressions of emotion

Groups of MA-matched autistic, normal and non-autistic retarded children were tested for their ability to choose drawn and photographed facial expressions of emotion to "go with" a person videotaped in gestures, vocalizations and contexts indicative of four emotional states. Although both autistic and control subjects were adept in choosing drawings of non-personal objects to correspond with videotaped cues, the autistic children were markedly impaired in selecting the appropriate faces for the videotaped expressions and contexts. Within the autistic group, the children's performance in this task of emotion recognition was related to MA. It is suggested that autistic children have difficulty in recognizing how different expressions of particular emotions are associated with each other, and that this might contribute to their failure to understand the emotional states of other people.