Morphing Task: The Emotion Recognition Process in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 12 16; 18(24)IJ
Recognizing a person's identity is a fundamental social ability; facial expressions, in particular, are extremely important in social cognition. Individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) display impairment in the recognition of emotions and, consequently, in recognizing expressions related to emotions, and even their identity. The aim of our study was to compare the performance of participants with ADHD, ASD, and typical development (TD) with regard to both accuracy and speed in the morphing task and to determine whether the use of pictures of digitized cartoon faces could significantly facilitate the process of emotion recognition in ASD patients (particularly for disgust). This study investigated the emotion recognition process through the use of dynamic pictures (human faces vs. cartoon faces) created with the morphing technique in three pediatric populations (7-12 years old): ADHD patients, ASD patients, and an age-matched control sample (TD). The Chi-square test was used to compare response latency and accuracy between the three groups in order to determine if there were statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in the recognition of basic emotions. The results demonstrated a faster response time in neurotypical children compared to ASD and ADHD children, with ADHD participants performing better than ASD participants on the same task. The overall accuracy parameter between the ADHD and ASD groups did not significantly differ.