The eye-tracking experiment was carried out to assess fixation duration and scan paths that individuals with and without high-functioning autism spectrum disorders employed when identifying simple and complex emotions. Participants viewed human photos of facial expressions and decided on the identification of emotion, the negative–positive emotion orientation, and the degree of emotion intensity. Results showed that there was an atypical emotional processing in the high-functioning autism spectrum disorder group to identify facial emotions when eye-tracking data were compared between groups. We suggest that the high-functioning autism spectrum disorder group prefers to use a rule-bound categorical approach as well as featured processing strategy in the facial emotion recognition tasks. Therefore, the high-functioning autism spectrum disorder group more readily distinguishes overt emotions such as happiness and sadness. However, they perform more inconsistently in covert emotions such as disgust and angry, which demand more cognitive strategy employment during emotional perception. Their fixation time in eye-tracking data demonstrated a significant difference from that of their controls when judging complex emotions, showing reduced “in” gazes and increased “out” gazes. The data were in compliance with the findings in their emotion intensity ratings which showed individuals with autism spectrum disorder misjudge the intensity of complex emotions especially the emotion of fear. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s).
CitationTsang, V. (2018). Eye-tracking study on facial emotion recognition tasks in individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 22(2), 161-170. doi: 10.1177/1362361316667830
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Emotion perception
- Eye tracking
- Facial emotion recognition
- Social cognition and social behavior