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J Autism Dev Disord. 2001 Feb;31(1):37-45.

Motion and emotion: a novel approach to the study of face processing by young autistic children.

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Child Psychiatry Department, Montperrin Hospital, Aix en Provence, France.


The specificity of facial processing impairment in autistic children, particularly in the domain of emotion, is still debated. The aim of our study was to assess the influence of motion on facial expression recognition in young autistic children. Thirteen autistic children (M age: 69.38 months) were matched for gender and developmental level with a control group of 13 normal children (M age: 40.53 months). They were compared on their ability to match videotaped "still," "dynamic," and "strobe" emotional and nonemotional facial expressions with photographs. Results indicate that children with autism do not perform significantly worse than their controls in any of our experimental conditions. Compared to previous studies showing lower performance in autistic than in control children when presented with static faces, our data suggest that slow dynamic presentations facilitate facial expression recognition by autistic children. This result could be of interest to parents and specialists involved in education and reeducation of these children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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