Although emotional functioning is impaired in children with autism, it is unclear if this impairment is due to difficulties with facial expression, autonomic responsiveness, or the verbal description of emotional states. To shed light on this issue, we examined responses to pleasant and unpleasant odors in eight children (8-14 years) with high-functioning autism and 8 age-matched typically developing controls. Despite subtle differences in the facial actions of the children with autism, children in both groups had similar facial and autonomic emotional responses to the odors. However, children with autism were less likely than controls to report an emotional reaction to the odors that matched their facial expression, suggesting difficulties in the self report of emotional states.
- Autonomic system
- Facial expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology