Integration of Facial Expression and Gaze Direction in Individuals with a High Level of Autistic Traits
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AuthorMarotta, Andrea; Aranda Martín, María Belén; De Cono, Marco; Ballesteros Duperon, María Ángeles; Lupiáñez Castillo, Juan
Eye-gazeEmotional expressionAutistic traitsCongruency effect
Marotta, A... [et al.]. Integration of Facial Expression and Gaze Direction in Individuals with a High Level of Autistic Traits. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 2798. [https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052798]
SponsorshipSpanish Government PID2020-114790GB-I00; Andalusian Council; European Commission B-SEJ-572-UGR20; German Research Foundation (DFG) FPU16/07124
Background.We investigated whether individuals with high levels of autistic traits integrate relevant communicative signals, such as facial expression, when decoding eye-gaze direction. Methods. Students with high vs. low scores on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) performed a task in which they responded to the eye directions of faces, presented on the left or the right side of a screen, portraying different emotional expressions. Results. In both groups, the identification of gaze direction was faster when the eyes were directed towards the center of the scene. However, in the low AQ group, this effect was larger for happy faces than for neutral faces or faces showing other emotional expressions, whereas participants from high AQ group were not affected by emotional expressions. Conclusions. These results suggest that individuals with more autistic traits may not integrate multiple communicative signals based on their emotional value.