Is emotion recognition impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorders?

Jessica L. Tracy, Richard W. Robins, Roberta A. Schriber, Marjorie Solomon Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Researchers have argued that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) use an effortful "systematizing" process to recognize emotion expressions, whereas typically developing (TD) individuals use a more holistic process. If this is the case, individuals with ASDs should show slower and less efficient emotion recognition, particularly for socially complex emotions. We tested this account by assessing the speed and accuracy of emotion recognition while limiting exposure time and response window. Children and adolescents with ASDs showed quick and accurate recognition for most emotions, including pride, a socially complex emotion, and no differences emerged between ASD and TD groups. Furthermore, both groups trended toward higher accuracy when responding quickly, even though systematizing should promote a speed-accuracy trade-off for individuals with ASDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Autism
  • Emotion recognition
  • Pride expression
  • Systematizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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