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Children with autism spectrum disorder are skilled at reading emotion body language.
J Exp Child Psychol. 2015 Nov; 139:35-50.JE

Abstract

Autism is commonly believed to impair the ability to perceive emotions, yet empirical evidence is mixed. Because face processing may be difficult for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we developed a novel test of recognizing emotion via static body postures (Body-Emotion test) and evaluated it with children aged 5 to 12 years in two studies. In Study 1, 34 children with ASD and 41 typically developing (TD) controls matched for age and verbal intelligence (VIQ [verbal IQ]) were tested on (a) our new Body-Emotion test, (b) a widely used test of emotion recognition using photos of eyes as stimuli (Baron-Cohen et al.'s "Reading Mind in the Eyes: Child" or RMEC [Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders, 2001, Vol. 5, pp. 47-78]), (c) a well-validated theory of mind (ToM) battery, and (d) a teacher-rated empathy scale. In Study 2 (33 children with ASD and 31 TD controls), the RMEC test was simplified to the six basic human emotions. Results of both studies showed that children with ASD performed as well as their TD peers on the Body-Emotion test. Yet TD children outperformed the ASD group on ToM and on both the standard RMEC test and the simplified version. VIQ was not related to perceiving emotions via either body posture or eyes for either group. However, recognizing emotions from body posture was correlated with ToM, especially for children with ASD. Finally, reading emotions from body posture was easier than reading emotions from eyes for both groups.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. Electronic address: candi@psy.uq.edu.au.School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26079273

Citation

Peterson, Candida C., et al. "Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Are Skilled at Reading Emotion Body Language." Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 139, 2015, pp. 35-50.
Peterson CC, Slaughter V, Brownell C. Children with autism spectrum disorder are skilled at reading emotion body language. J Exp Child Psychol. 2015;139:35-50.
Peterson, C. C., Slaughter, V., & Brownell, C. (2015). Children with autism spectrum disorder are skilled at reading emotion body language. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 139, 35-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2015.04.012
Peterson CC, Slaughter V, Brownell C. Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Are Skilled at Reading Emotion Body Language. J Exp Child Psychol. 2015;139:35-50. PubMed PMID: 26079273.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Children with autism spectrum disorder are skilled at reading emotion body language. AU - Peterson,Candida C, AU - Slaughter,Virginia, AU - Brownell,Celia, Y1 - 2015/06/12/ PY - 2014/04/10/received PY - 2015/04/27/revised PY - 2015/04/30/accepted PY - 2015/6/17/entrez PY - 2015/6/17/pubmed PY - 2016/12/15/medline KW - Autism KW - Body language KW - Emotion perception KW - Empathy KW - Social cognition KW - Theory of mind SP - 35 EP - 50 JF - Journal of experimental child psychology JO - J Exp Child Psychol VL - 139 N2 - Autism is commonly believed to impair the ability to perceive emotions, yet empirical evidence is mixed. Because face processing may be difficult for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we developed a novel test of recognizing emotion via static body postures (Body-Emotion test) and evaluated it with children aged 5 to 12 years in two studies. In Study 1, 34 children with ASD and 41 typically developing (TD) controls matched for age and verbal intelligence (VIQ [verbal IQ]) were tested on (a) our new Body-Emotion test, (b) a widely used test of emotion recognition using photos of eyes as stimuli (Baron-Cohen et al.'s "Reading Mind in the Eyes: Child" or RMEC [Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorders, 2001, Vol. 5, pp. 47-78]), (c) a well-validated theory of mind (ToM) battery, and (d) a teacher-rated empathy scale. In Study 2 (33 children with ASD and 31 TD controls), the RMEC test was simplified to the six basic human emotions. Results of both studies showed that children with ASD performed as well as their TD peers on the Body-Emotion test. Yet TD children outperformed the ASD group on ToM and on both the standard RMEC test and the simplified version. VIQ was not related to perceiving emotions via either body posture or eyes for either group. However, recognizing emotions from body posture was correlated with ToM, especially for children with ASD. Finally, reading emotions from body posture was easier than reading emotions from eyes for both groups. SN - 1096-0457 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26079273/Children_with_autism_spectrum_disorder_are_skilled_at_reading_emotion_body_language_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0022-0965(15)00111-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -