Can children with autism read emotions from the eyes? The Eyes Test revisited

Fabia Franco , Shoji Itakura , Krystyna Pomorska , Anna Abramowski , Kozue Nikaido , Dagmara Dimitriou


Abstract This study aimed to test two new, simplified tasks related to the eye-test, targeting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing controls (TD). Test-1 assessed the recognition of emotion/mental states with displays using one word and two eye-pictures, whereas Test-2 presented displays using two words and one eye-picture. Black and white photographs of children were used as materials. A cross-cultural study (Caucasian/East-Asian) with adults was initially carried out to verify generalizability across different ethnic groups. Cross-sectional trajectory analyses were used to compare emotion recognition from the eyes in the two tests. Trajectories were constructed linking performance on both tests either to chronological age or to different measures of mental age (receptive vocabulary based on the BPVS, CARS or ASQ for the ASD group). Performance improved with chronological age in both the ASD and TD groups of children. However, performance in Test-1 was significantly superior in children with ASD, who showed delayed onset and slower rate of improvement than TD children in Test-2. In both the ASD and TD groups the lowest error rate was recorded for the item ‘anger’, suggesting that threat-detection cue mechanisms may be intact in autism. In general, all children showed good performance on our novel tests, thus making them good candidates for assessing younger children and those with lower general abilities.
Author Fabia Franco
Fabia Franco,,
, Shoji Itakura
Shoji Itakura,,
, Krystyna Pomorska (Wydział Psychologii)
Krystyna Pomorska,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Anna Abramowski
Anna Abramowski,,
, Kozue Nikaido
Kozue Nikaido,,
, Dagmara Dimitriou
Dagmara Dimitriou,,
Journal seriesResearch in Developmental Disabilities, ISSN 0891-4222, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2014
Pages1015 - 1026
Publication size in sheets0.55
Keywords in EnglishASD; Emotion recognition; Eye-test; Developmental disorders; Theory of mind (ToM)
ASJC Classification3203 Clinical Psychology; 3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
Languageen angielski
1-s2.0-S0891422214000626-main.pdf 671.47 KB
Score (nominal)45
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 1.269; WoS Impact Factor: 2014 = 1.887 (2) - 2014=2.399 (5)
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