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Atypical emotional anticipation in high-functioning autism.

Palumbo L, Burnett HG, Jellema T - Mol Autism (2015)

Bottom Line: Specific experimental manipulations prior to the final facial expression of the video clip allowed examining contributions of bottom-up mechanisms (sequential contrast/context effects and representational momentum) and a top-down mechanism (emotional anticipation) to distortions in the perception of the final expression.We argue that in TD individuals the perceptual judgments of other's facial expressions were underpinned by an automatic emotional anticipation mechanism.In contrast, HFA individuals were primarily influenced by visual features, most notably the contrast between the start and end expressions, or pattern extrapolation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Eleanor Rathbone Building, Bedford Street South, L69 7ZA Liverpool, UK.

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding and anticipating others' mental or emotional states relies on the processing of social cues, such as dynamic facial expressions. Individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) may process these cues differently from individuals with typical development (TD) and purportedly use a 'mechanistic' rather than a 'mentalistic' approach, involving rule- and contingency-based interpretations of the stimuli. The study primarily aimed at examining whether the judgments of facial expressions made by individuals with TD and HFA would be similarly affected by the immediately preceding dynamic perceptual history of that face. A second aim was to explore possible differences in the mechanisms underpinning the perceptual judgments in the two groups.

Methods: Twenty-two adults with HFA and with TD, matched for age, gender and IQ, were tested in three experiments in which dynamic, 'ecologically valid' offsets of happy and angry facial expressions were presented. Participants evaluated the expression depicted in the last frame of the video clip by using a 5-point scale ranging from slightly angry via neutral to slightly happy. Specific experimental manipulations prior to the final facial expression of the video clip allowed examining contributions of bottom-up mechanisms (sequential contrast/context effects and representational momentum) and a top-down mechanism (emotional anticipation) to distortions in the perception of the final expression.

Results: In experiment 1, the two groups showed a very similar perceptual bias for the final expression of joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral videos (overshoot bias). In experiment 2, a change in the actor's identity during the clip removed the bias in the TD group, but not in the HFA group. In experiment 3, neutral-to-joy/anger-to-neutral sequences generated an undershoot bias (opposite to the overshoot) in the TD group, whereas no bias was observed in the HFA group.

Conclusions: We argue that in TD individuals the perceptual judgments of other's facial expressions were underpinned by an automatic emotional anticipation mechanism. In contrast, HFA individuals were primarily influenced by visual features, most notably the contrast between the start and end expressions, or pattern extrapolation. We critically discuss the proposition that automatic emotional anticipation may be induced by motor simulation of the perceived dynamic facial expressions and discuss its implications for autism.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Results of experiment 1. a Ratings on the 5-point scale for the expressions depicted in the last frame of the joy-to-‘neutral’ and anger-to-‘neutral’ videos for the HFA group (left side) and the TD group (right side). The sequences ended at 10 % anger, neutral or 10 % joy. Error bars indicate 1SD. b Ratings for exclusively the neutral expressions at the end of the happy and angry videos for the HFA and TD groups. Scores are shown for each of the eight actors to illustrate consistency
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Fig3: Results of experiment 1. a Ratings on the 5-point scale for the expressions depicted in the last frame of the joy-to-‘neutral’ and anger-to-‘neutral’ videos for the HFA group (left side) and the TD group (right side). The sequences ended at 10 % anger, neutral or 10 % joy. Error bars indicate 1SD. b Ratings for exclusively the neutral expressions at the end of the happy and angry videos for the HFA and TD groups. Scores are shown for each of the eight actors to illustrate consistency

Mentions: The results of the experimental trials are illustrated in Fig. 3. A 3 x 2 x 2 repeated measures ANOVA was performed with the endpoint of the video (10 % anger vs. neutral vs 10 % joy) and perceptual history (joy-to-'neutral' videos vs. anger-to-'neutral' videos), and group as between-subjects factor (HFA vs. TD). The main effect of endpoint was significant (F(2, 64) = 43.9, p < .0001, ηp2 = .58), reflecting that when the videos ended at 10 % joy, the expressions in the last frame were judged as more happy than when they ended at neutral (t(15) = −4.14, p = .001) or at 10 % anger (t(15) = 4.54, p < .001), while the 10 % anger and neutral endpoints did not differ from each other (t(15) = 2.50, p = .024; α = .017 after correction for multiple comparisons). The main effect of perceptual history was significant (F(1, 32) = 223.8, p < .0001, ηp2 = .88), reflecting that the final expressions were judged as more angry in the joy-to-neutral condition than in the anger-to-neutral condition. There was no significant main effect of group (F(1, 32) = 2.1, p = .15, ηp2 = .063).Fig. 3


Atypical emotional anticipation in high-functioning autism.

Palumbo L, Burnett HG, Jellema T - Mol Autism (2015)

Results of experiment 1. a Ratings on the 5-point scale for the expressions depicted in the last frame of the joy-to-‘neutral’ and anger-to-‘neutral’ videos for the HFA group (left side) and the TD group (right side). The sequences ended at 10 % anger, neutral or 10 % joy. Error bars indicate 1SD. b Ratings for exclusively the neutral expressions at the end of the happy and angry videos for the HFA and TD groups. Scores are shown for each of the eight actors to illustrate consistency
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4537555&req=5

Fig3: Results of experiment 1. a Ratings on the 5-point scale for the expressions depicted in the last frame of the joy-to-‘neutral’ and anger-to-‘neutral’ videos for the HFA group (left side) and the TD group (right side). The sequences ended at 10 % anger, neutral or 10 % joy. Error bars indicate 1SD. b Ratings for exclusively the neutral expressions at the end of the happy and angry videos for the HFA and TD groups. Scores are shown for each of the eight actors to illustrate consistency
Mentions: The results of the experimental trials are illustrated in Fig. 3. A 3 x 2 x 2 repeated measures ANOVA was performed with the endpoint of the video (10 % anger vs. neutral vs 10 % joy) and perceptual history (joy-to-'neutral' videos vs. anger-to-'neutral' videos), and group as between-subjects factor (HFA vs. TD). The main effect of endpoint was significant (F(2, 64) = 43.9, p < .0001, ηp2 = .58), reflecting that when the videos ended at 10 % joy, the expressions in the last frame were judged as more happy than when they ended at neutral (t(15) = −4.14, p = .001) or at 10 % anger (t(15) = 4.54, p < .001), while the 10 % anger and neutral endpoints did not differ from each other (t(15) = 2.50, p = .024; α = .017 after correction for multiple comparisons). The main effect of perceptual history was significant (F(1, 32) = 223.8, p < .0001, ηp2 = .88), reflecting that the final expressions were judged as more angry in the joy-to-neutral condition than in the anger-to-neutral condition. There was no significant main effect of group (F(1, 32) = 2.1, p = .15, ηp2 = .063).Fig. 3

Bottom Line: Specific experimental manipulations prior to the final facial expression of the video clip allowed examining contributions of bottom-up mechanisms (sequential contrast/context effects and representational momentum) and a top-down mechanism (emotional anticipation) to distortions in the perception of the final expression.We argue that in TD individuals the perceptual judgments of other's facial expressions were underpinned by an automatic emotional anticipation mechanism.In contrast, HFA individuals were primarily influenced by visual features, most notably the contrast between the start and end expressions, or pattern extrapolation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Eleanor Rathbone Building, Bedford Street South, L69 7ZA Liverpool, UK.

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding and anticipating others' mental or emotional states relies on the processing of social cues, such as dynamic facial expressions. Individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) may process these cues differently from individuals with typical development (TD) and purportedly use a 'mechanistic' rather than a 'mentalistic' approach, involving rule- and contingency-based interpretations of the stimuli. The study primarily aimed at examining whether the judgments of facial expressions made by individuals with TD and HFA would be similarly affected by the immediately preceding dynamic perceptual history of that face. A second aim was to explore possible differences in the mechanisms underpinning the perceptual judgments in the two groups.

Methods: Twenty-two adults with HFA and with TD, matched for age, gender and IQ, were tested in three experiments in which dynamic, 'ecologically valid' offsets of happy and angry facial expressions were presented. Participants evaluated the expression depicted in the last frame of the video clip by using a 5-point scale ranging from slightly angry via neutral to slightly happy. Specific experimental manipulations prior to the final facial expression of the video clip allowed examining contributions of bottom-up mechanisms (sequential contrast/context effects and representational momentum) and a top-down mechanism (emotional anticipation) to distortions in the perception of the final expression.

Results: In experiment 1, the two groups showed a very similar perceptual bias for the final expression of joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral videos (overshoot bias). In experiment 2, a change in the actor's identity during the clip removed the bias in the TD group, but not in the HFA group. In experiment 3, neutral-to-joy/anger-to-neutral sequences generated an undershoot bias (opposite to the overshoot) in the TD group, whereas no bias was observed in the HFA group.

Conclusions: We argue that in TD individuals the perceptual judgments of other's facial expressions were underpinned by an automatic emotional anticipation mechanism. In contrast, HFA individuals were primarily influenced by visual features, most notably the contrast between the start and end expressions, or pattern extrapolation. We critically discuss the proposition that automatic emotional anticipation may be induced by motor simulation of the perceived dynamic facial expressions and discuss its implications for autism.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus