THE ASD children they incorrectly evaluate the feelings of others because they do not use context to identify hidden emotions because to decode them they are not based on the context in which they are expressed. This is stated by a study carried out by Dr. Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, England.
There Research was published in the scientific journal Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
ASD children and hidden emotions: this is what the research says
the study is the first to investigate whether ASD children can recognize when an emotion is masking a different feeling which can only be identified by contextual cues, for example, a crying man is happy rather than sad because he is at his daughter’s wedding.
Being able to detect these differences between emotional expression and emotional feeling is an essential tool for effectively managing social exchanges.
Conducted by Dr. Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, England, the study involved 40 participants from the age groups 13 to 15, with 20 children recruited from an ASD specialist school for children in the UK and a control group of 20 typically developing children from two local schools.
The experiment was divided into two sectionsi, with groups that first showed photographs of people showing static emotions such as fear, anger, happiness, sadness, disgust and surprise. Both groups of children were equally adept at identifying the correct emotion.
Participants then watched six short films in which a central character displayed a facial expression that matched the context of the scene.. Later in the scene, the character displayed a facial expression that masked his previous expression, but could be understood as a socially acceptable reaction to the context of the scene.
In one scene, an actor is filmed buying a cup of coffee. He is then bumped into by another actor, causing him to spill the coffee. The central character first shows an angry face but after receiving an apology he shows a forced smile.
Although there was no statistical difference in the scores of the two groups when asked to identify the emotions shown in the films, children with autism were unable to correctly tell how the actor felt. For example, the man’s forced smile in the coffee incident was identified as happiness.
Dr Stagg, professor of psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Our findings suggest that children with autism may misjudge the feelings of others due to excessive reliance on facial cues at the expense of contextual cues, rather than an inability to recognize facial emotions.
In fact, we have found that ASD children are just as capable as their developing peers at recognizing static images of facial emotions. People commonly try to hide their feelings and therefore accurate recognition of emotions involves processing both facial expressions and signals contextual “.
“In our study, ASD children struggled when asked to describe how the actors felt. We believe this is due to the fact that these children have a hard time integrating storytelling with facial expressions, and instead their judgments are guided only by the emotion visible on display. In part, this may be due to the greater cognitive demand that more complex stimuli, such as context, place on processing capacity “, explained the expert
It is estimated that around one in 160 children worldwide have an ASD. This estimate represents an average figure and the reported prevalence varies substantially between studies. Some well-controlled studies have, however, reported substantially higher figures. The prevalence of ASD in many low- and middle-income countries is unknown.
The available scientific evidence suggests that there are likely many factors that make it possible for a child to be diagnosed with ASD, including environmental and genetic factors.
Available epidemiological data conclude that there is no evidence of a causal association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and ASD. Previous studies suggesting a causal link were fraught with methodological flaws.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that any other childhood vaccine can increase the risk of ASD. Reviews of evidence of the potential association between the preservative thiomersal and aluminum adjuvants contained in inactivated vaccines and the risk of ASD strongly concluded that vaccines do not increase the risk of ASD.