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Interpreting Faces and Eyes in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fragile X Syndrome and Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome Hayley Mace, Joanna Moss, Giles Anderson, Chris Oliver and Joseph McCleery
Social Phenotypes and Face Processing • Williams syndrome: Increased looking at the eyes compared to TD (Riby & Hancock, 2008) • FXS: Decreased eye looking compared to TD (Farzin et al., 2009) • ASD: Typical eye looking when using static stimuli (Speer et al., 2007) • RTS: No previous literature
Eye Looking and Emotion Recognition • Eye gaze important for accurate emotion recognition (Baron-Cohen et al., 1997b) • Impairments in understanding emotions suggested to underlie social impairments in psychiatric disorders (Baron-Cohen, 1995, 2002; Happé & Frith, 1996; Brüne, 2004) • Intact explicit emotion recognition in FXS (Turk & Cornish., 1998) and ASD (see Harms, Martin & Wallace, 2010) • Importance of distinguishing implicit/explicit (Senju, Southgate, White & Frith., 2009)
Research Questions • 1) Do individuals with FXS, ASD and RTS show differential looking patterns to facial features? • Hypothesis: Increased eye looking in RTS, decreased eye looking in FXS and typical eye looking in ASD • Do individuals with FXS, ASD and RTS spontaneously discriminate between emotions? • Hypothesis: Atypical in FXS, typical in RTS
Method: Participants • ASD & FXS: Database of participants who have previously taken part in studies at the Cerebra Centre
Method Emotion - Happy • One face displayed a neutral expression, the other displayed a happy expression • 5 trials Baseline trials • Both faces displayed a neutral expression • 70 trials • 2 faces for 1.5 seconds • 1 of 2 blocks (different presentation order) • Passive viewing Emotion- Disgust • One face displayed a neutral expression, the other displayed a disgust expression • 5 trials
Heat Maps ASD FXS RTS Td Child
Looking at the Eyes & Mouth • Significant between-groups difference in time spent looking at the eye region (F (3,55) = 7.345, p < .001) • Bonferroni post-hoc tests: • FXS look less at eyes than ASD (p < .001) and TD Child (p = .004) • No significant difference between groups in mouth looking (F (3,55) = 1.284, p = .289)
Results: Spontaneous Emotion Discrimination • All groups looked at happy and neutral faces a similar amount (p > .05) • All groups looked significantly longer at disgust faces than neutral faces (p < .05) • No between group differences in happy preference (F (3,55) =1.595, p = .201) or disgust preference (F (3,55) = .624, p = .602) * * * *
Results • FXS look less at the eyes than ASD and TD • ASD look at the eyes a similar amount to TD children • RTS look at the eyes a similar amount to TD children • All participants performed the same on spontaneous emotion discrimination • Accounting for differences between participant characteristics: CA & ANCOVA
Discussion: Looking to the Eyes and Mouth • FXS consistent with literature (Farzin et al., 2008) • ASD consistent with static literature • Static stimuli (Speer et al., 2007) • Less eye looking in ASD with moving stimuli (Klin et al., 2002) • No previous literature for RTS • Similar social phenotype as WS but differences in looking to the eyes (Klin et al., 2002)
Discussion: Spontaneous Emotion Discrimination • All participants discriminated between disgust and neutral faces but not happy and neutral faces • Negativity bias • Look longer at fearful than happy (Ludemann& Nelson, 1988) • Novelty bias • Attentional advantage (Desimone & Duncan, 1995) • Participants with ASD, FXS and RTS discriminate emotions in the same way as TD participants
Discussion • Similar behaviours in ASD and FXS but differences in eye looking • Similar behaviours in RTS and WS but differences in eye looking • FXS reduced eye looking but typical spontaneous emotion discrimination • Compensatory mechanisms?
Thank you for listening • Thank you to: • Families • Fragile X Society, UK and RTS, UK • Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Cerebra • Supervisors: Dr. Joe McCleery, Dr. Joanna Moss, Professor Chris Oliver