Reduced Reliance on Optimal Facial Information for Identity Recognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Leonard, Hayley C.; Annaz, Dagmara; Karmiloff-Smith, Annette and Johnson, Mark H.. 2012. Reduced Reliance on Optimal Facial Information for Identity Recognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Cognition and Development, pp. 1-13. ISSN 1524-8372 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Previous research into face processing in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has revealed atypical biases toward particular facial information during identity recognition. Specifically, a focus on features (or high spatial frequencies [HSFs]) has been reported for both face and nonface processing in ASD. The current study investigated the development of spatial frequency biases in face recognition in children and adolescents with and without ASD, using nonverbal mental age to assess changes in biases over developmental time. Using this measure, the control group showed a gradual specialization over time toward middle spatial frequencies (MSFs), which are thought to provide the optimal information for face recognition in adults. By contrast, individuals with ASD did not show a bias to one spatial frequency band at any stage of development. These data suggest that the “midband bias” emerges through increasing face-specific experience and that atypical face recognition performance may be related to reduced specialization toward optimal spatial frequencies in ASD.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Cognitive Neuroscience Unit


12 April 2012["eprint_fieldopt_dates_date_type_inproduction" not defined]

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Date Deposited:

06 Apr 2013 16:15

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 10:02

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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