Emotion recognition from body movement and gesture in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is improved by situational cues

Metcalfe, Dale, McKenzie, Karen, McCarty, Kris and Pollet, Thomas (2019) Emotion recognition from body movement and gesture in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is improved by situational cues. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 86. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0891-4222

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2018.12.008

Abstract

Background: Research shows people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have poorer emotion recognition (ER) compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. However, it is not known whether this is the case when stimuli are limited to gesture and posture, and lack facial expressions.

Method: Fifty-four children with (n = 27) and without (n = 27) ASD, matched on age and gender, completed an ER task, that used dynamic stimuli. Processing style bias, Autistic-like-traits and empathy were also measured. With ER as the outcome variable, a multilevel logistic model was created.

Results: Children with ASD were found to be significantly less accurate in identifying emotions, compared to the control group. Presence of situational cues aided both groups. Autistic-like-traits and empathy were found to correlate too highly with the diagnosed condition to use in the multilevel model. Processing style did not significantly impact ER ability.

Conclusions: This study supports previous research which finds ER ability in people with ASD to be poorer than that of TD peers and that situational cues can aid ER ability. Importantly, the latter is true for people with ASD. The implication of these findings are programmes that aim to improve ER should consider using cues. Limitations of the study are discussed.

What this paper adds?
Background
Research shows people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have poorer emotion recognition (ER) compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. However, it is not known whether this is the case when stimuli are limited to gesture and posture, and lack facial expressions.

Method
Fifty-four children with (n = 27) and without (n = 27) ASD, matched on age and gender, completed an ER task, that used dynamic stimuli. Processing style bias, Autistic-like-traits and empathy were also measured. With ER as the outcome variable, a multilevel logistic model was created.

Results
Children with ASD were found to be significantly less accurate in identifying emotions, compared to the control group. Presence of situational cues aided both groups. Autistic-like-traits and empathy were found to correlate too highly with the diagnosed condition to use in the multilevel model. Processing style did not significantly impact ER ability.

Conclusions
This study supports previous research which finds ER ability in people with ASD to be poorer than that of TD peers and that situational cues can aid ER ability. Importantly, the latter is true for people with ASD. The implication of these findings are programmes that aim to improve ER should consider using cues. Limitations of the study are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Emotion recognition, Situational cues, Processing style
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2018 15:49
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 14:04
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/37423

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