Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The difficulties encountered by individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) when interacting with neurotypical (NT, i.e. nonautistic) individuals are usually attributed to failure to recognize the emotions and mental states of their NT interaction partner. It is also possible, however, that at least some of the difficulty is due to a failure of NT individuals to read the mental and emotional states of ASD interaction partners. Previous research has frequently observed deficits of typical facial emotion recognition in individuals with ASD, suggesting atypical representations of emotional expressions. Relatively little research, however, has investigated the ability of individuals with ASD to produce recognizable emotional expressions, and thus, whether NT individuals can recognize autistic emotional expressions. The few studies which have investigated this have used only NT observers, making it impossible to determine whether atypical representations are shared among individuals with ASD, or idiosyncratic. This study investigated NT and ASD participants' ability to recognize emotional expressions produced by NT and ASD posers. Three posing conditions were included, to determine whether potential group differences are due to atypical cognitive representations of emotion, impaired understanding of the communicative value of expressions, or poor proprioceptive feedback. Results indicated that ASD expressions were recognized less well than NT expressions, and that this is likely due to a genuine deficit in the representation of typical emotional expressions in this population. Further, ASD expressions were equally poorly recognized by NT individuals and those with ASD, implicating idiosyncratic, rather than common, atypical representations of emotional expressions in ASD.

Original publication




Journal article


Autism Res

Publication Date





262 - 271


cognitive neuroscience, expression production, face perception, social cognition, Adult, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Emotions, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Recognition (Psychology), Social Perception