Emotional responses to odors in children with high-functioning autism: Autonomic arousal, facial behavior and self-report

Jasna Legiša, Daniel S. Messinger, Enzo Kermol, Luc Marlier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-879
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Autonomic system
  • Emotion
  • Facial expression
  • Olfaction
  • Self-report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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