BACKGROUND: Individuals with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) have difficulties recognizing mental states in others. Most research has focused on recognition of basic emotions from faces and voices separately. This study reports the results of a new task, assessing recognition of complex emotions and mental states from social scenes taken from feature films. The film format arguably is more challenging and ecologically closer to real social situations. SAMPLE AND METHOD: A group of adults with ASC (n=22) were compared to a group of matched controls from the general population (n=22). Participants were tested individually. RESULTS: Overall, individuals with ASC performed significantly lower than controls. There was a positive correlation between verbal IQ and task scores. Using task scores, more than 90% of the participants were correctly allocated to their group. Item analysis showed that the errors individuals with ASC make when judging socioemotional information are subtle. CONCLUSIONS: This new test of complex emotion and mental state recognition reveals that adults with ASC have residual difficulties in this aspect of empathy. The use of language-based compensatory strategies for emotion recognition is discussed.
|Original language||American English|
|State||Published - 2006|