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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1989 Jul;30(4):591-8.

Facial perception in autism.

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Child Study Center, Yale University, Connecticut, New Haven 06510.


Disturbances in gaze and patterns of facial interaction are prominent aspects of social dysfunction in autism; the nature of this disturbance has up to the present been unclear. This study examined the ability of autistic subjects to use the human face as a source of information. Autistic and age- and MA-matched retarded control subjects assembled a series of puzzles displaying photographs of human faces; puzzles differed in complexity, familiarity of the faces and configuration (normal vs scrambled faces). Significant effects of all three factors, but not of diagnostic group, were observed. The autistic subjects did not exhibit specific deficits in perception of faces.

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