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J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Aug;38(7):1250-8. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0505-y. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

Facial feedback mechanisms in autistic spectrum disorders.

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  • 1Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Facial feedback mechanisms of adolescents with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) were investigated utilizing three studies. Facial expressions, which became activated via automatic (Studies 1 and 2) or intentional (Study 2) mimicry, or via holding a pen between the teeth (Study 3), influenced corresponding emotions for controls, while individuals with ASD remained emotionally unaffected. Thus, individuals with ASD do not experience feedback from activated facial expressions as controls do. This facial feedback-impairment enhances our understanding of the social and emotional lives of individuals with ASD.

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