Impaired Recognition of Basic Emotions from Facial Expressions in Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Assessing the Importance of Expression Intensity

Sarah Griffiths, Christopher Jarrold, Ian S Penton-Voak, Andy T Woods, Andy L Skinner, Marcus R Munafò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been proposed that impairments in emotion recognition in ASD are greater for more subtle expressions of emotion. We measured recognition of 6 basic facial expressions at 8 intensity levels in young people (6-16 years) with ASD (N = 63) and controls (N = 64) via an Internet platform. Participants with ASD were less accurate than controls at labelling expressions across intensity levels, although differences at very low levels were not detected due to floor effects. Recognition accuracy did not correlate with parent-reported social functioning in either group. These findings provide further evidence for an impairment in recognition of basic emotion in ASD and do not support the idea that this impairment is limited solely to low intensity expressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2768-2778
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder/psychology
  • Emotions
  • Facial Expression
  • Facial Recognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Young Adult

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