Electromyographic Responses to Emotional Facial Expressions in 6-7 Year Olds with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Peter K H Deschamps, L. Coppes, Leon Kenemans, Dennis Schutter, Walter Matthys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed to examine facial mimicry in
6–7 year old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
and to explore whether facial mimicry was related to the
severity of impairment in social responsiveness. Facial
electromyographic activity in response to angry, fearful,
sad and happy facial expressions was recorded in twenty
6–7 year old children with ASD and twenty-seven typically
developing children. Even though results did not show
differences in facial mimicry between children with ASD
and typically developing children, impairment in social
responsiveness was significantly associated with reduced
fear mimicry in children with ASD. These findings demonstrate
normal mimicry in children with ASD as compared
to healthy controls, but that in children with ASD the
degree of impairments in social responsiveness may be
associated with reduced sensitivity to distress signals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Children
  • Emotional responsiveness
  • Facial mimicry
  • ASD

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