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J Autism Dev Disord. 2008 Apr;38(4):776-81. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

Brief report: Emotional processing in high-functioning autism--physiological reactivity and affective report.

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Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie des Kindes- und Jugendalters, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Deutschordenstrasse 50, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


This study examined physiological response and affective report in 10 adult individuals with autism and 10 typically developing controls. An emotion induction paradigm using stimuli from the International Affective Picture System was applied. Blood pressure, heart and self-ratings of experienced valence (pleasure), arousal and dominance (control) were assessed during the experiment. Physiological response profiles correlated low to significantly negative between groups. Individuals with autism experienced less arousal when viewing sad pictures but higher arousal while processing neutral stimuli. In addition, they reported more control than the normative group when viewing fearful and sad stimuli. Findings indicate altered physiological reactivity and affective report in autism, which may be related to more general impairments in socio-emotional functioning.

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