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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 3. a Scores for the neutral expressions at the end of the joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral sequences in the no-loop (left side) and loop (right side) conditions for the HFA and TD groups. Error bars indicate SEM. b Ratings for each of the eight actors in the no-loop and loop conditions are shown to illustrate the consistency across actors for the HFA and TD groups
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Fig8: Results of experiment 3. a Scores for the neutral expressions at the end of the joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral sequences in the no-loop (left side) and loop (right side) conditions for the HFA and TD groups. Error bars indicate SEM. b Ratings for each of the eight actors in the no-loop and loop conditions are shown to illustrate the consistency across actors for the HFA and TD groups

Mentions: A 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA was performed with task (no loop vs. loop) and perceptual history (joy-to-neutral vs. anger-to-neutral) as within-subject factors, and group (TD vs. HFA) as between-subjects factor. The main effect of task was non-significant (F(1, 32) = .038, p = .85, ηp2 = .001). The main effect of perceptual history was also non-significant (F(1, 32) = .042, p = .84, ηp2 = .001). The latter was surprising as so far the main effect of perceptual history had always been highly significant. It reflected that in the loop task, the pattern of scores was effectively the opposite of that in the no-loop task (Fig. 8). The main effect of group was non-significant (F(1, 32) = 1.4, p = .24, ηp2 = .042). Of the two-way interaction factors, the task by perceptual history interaction was significant (F(1, 32) = 35.1, p < .0001, ηp2 = .52), reflecting the pattern reversal between the two tasks. The other two-way interaction factors were non-significant (task by group: F(1, 32) = .932, p = .34, ηp2 = .028; perceptual history by group: F(1, 32) = 2.08, p = .16, ηp2 = .061). The three-way interaction was non-significant (F(1, 32) = 1.23, p = .28, ηp2 = .037). Even though there was no significant three-way interaction, we analysed the group differences further in the loop and no-loop conditions for purely explorative purposes using t tests (with α set at .0125 to correct for multiple comparisons). This explorative analysis suggested that in the loop task, the ‘undershoot’ bias in the HFA group did not reach significance (t(14) = 2.03, p = .062), while in the TD group, it did (t(18) = 2.97, p = .008).Fig. 8


Atypical emotional anticipation in high-functioning autism.

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

Results of experiment 3. a Scores for the neutral expressions at the end of the joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral sequences in the no-loop (left side) and loop (right side) conditions for the HFA and TD groups. Error bars indicate SEM. b Ratings for each of the eight actors in the no-loop and loop conditions are shown to illustrate the consistency across actors for the HFA and TD groups
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Fig8: Results of experiment 3. a Scores for the neutral expressions at the end of the joy-to-neutral and anger-to-neutral sequences in the no-loop (left side) and loop (right side) conditions for the HFA and TD groups. Error bars indicate SEM. b Ratings for each of the eight actors in the no-loop and loop conditions are shown to illustrate the consistency across actors for the HFA and TD groups
Mentions: A 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA was performed with task (no loop vs. loop) and perceptual history (joy-to-neutral vs. anger-to-neutral) as within-subject factors, and group (TD vs. HFA) as between-subjects factor. The main effect of task was non-significant (F(1, 32) = .038, p = .85, ηp2 = .001). The main effect of perceptual history was also non-significant (F(1, 32) = .042, p = .84, ηp2 = .001). The latter was surprising as so far the main effect of perceptual history had always been highly significant. It reflected that in the loop task, the pattern of scores was effectively the opposite of that in the no-loop task (Fig. 8). The main effect of group was non-significant (F(1, 32) = 1.4, p = .24, ηp2 = .042). Of the two-way interaction factors, the task by perceptual history interaction was significant (F(1, 32) = 35.1, p < .0001, ηp2 = .52), reflecting the pattern reversal between the two tasks. The other two-way interaction factors were non-significant (task by group: F(1, 32) = .932, p = .34, ηp2 = .028; perceptual history by group: F(1, 32) = 2.08, p = .16, ηp2 = .061). The three-way interaction was non-significant (F(1, 32) = 1.23, p = .28, ηp2 = .037). Even though there was no significant three-way interaction, we analysed the group differences further in the loop and no-loop conditions for purely explorative purposes using t tests (with α set at .0125 to correct for multiple comparisons). This explorative analysis suggested that in the loop task, the ‘undershoot’ bias in the HFA group did not reach significance (t(14) = 2.03, p = .062), while in the TD group, it did (t(18) = 2.97, p = .008).Fig. 8

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