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J Autism Dev Disord. 2014 Nov;44(11):2882-94. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2149-z.

Processing of emotion words by patients with autism spectrum disorders: evidence from reaction times and EEG.

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Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Geert Grooteplein Noord 21, 6525 EZ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands,


This study investigated processing of emotion words in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using reaction times and event-related potentials (ERP). Adults with (n = 21) and without (n = 20) ASD performed a lexical decision task on emotion and neutral words while their brain activity was recorded. Both groups showed faster responses to emotion words compared to neutral, suggesting intact early processing of emotion in ASD. In the ERPs, the control group showed a typical late positive component (LPC) at 400-600 ms for emotion words compared to neutral, while the ASD group showed no LPC. The between-group difference in LPC amplitude was significant, suggesting that emotion words were processed differently by individuals with ASD, although their behavioral performance was similar to that of typical individuals.

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