Executive function, motivation, and emotion recognition in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Several neurocognitive theories have been put forward to explain autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the specificity of executive cognitive, motivational (i.e., reward-related), and emotion-recognition impairments in ASD, and the role of early language delay in these impairments remain largely unclear. 

Aim: This study aimed to examine executive cognitive, motivational, and emotion-recognition functions while considering the potential effect of language delay in ASD. 

Methods: Twenty-two adolescents with high-functioning ASD (20 males) and 22 typically developing (TD) adolescents (16 males) aged 11–18 years were recruited. Each completed seven computerized tasks measuring executive cognitive (i.e., set-shifting, inhibition, updating, and access/generativity), motivational (i.e., flexible reinforcement learning and affective decision-making), and emotion-recognition functions (i.e., facial emotion recognition). 

Results: We found that ASD participants with early language delay (n = 10) had poorer executive cognitive, motivational, and emotion-recognition functioning than TD controls, and had poorer executive cognitive and motivational functioning than ASD participants without language delay (n = 12). ASD participants without language delay only had poorer emotion recognition than TD controls. 

Conclusion and implications: These preliminary findings suggest impairments in executive cognitive and motivational functions as well as emotion recognition in ASD with language delay, and impairment only in emotion recognition in ASD without language delay. They implicate a potential partial distinction in mental abilities between ASD with and without early language delay, highlighting the importance of considering language delay when evaluating executive cognitive and motivational functions in ASD. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103730
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume105
Early online dateJul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Citation

Yeung, M. K., & Chan, A. S. (2020). Executive function, motivation, and emotion recognition in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 105. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2020.103730

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Language delay
  • Executive function
  • Decision-making
  • Emotion recognition

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Executive function, motivation, and emotion recognition in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.