Motion-Capture Patterns of Voluntarily Mimicked Dynamic Facial Expressions in Children and Adolescents With and Without ASD

Research shows that neurotypical individuals struggle to interpret the emotional facial expressions of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The current study uses motion-capture to objectively quantify differences between the movement patterns of emotional facial expressions of individuals with and without ASD. Participants volitionally mimicked emotional expressions while wearing facial markers. Recorded marker movement was grouped by expression valence and intensity. We used Growth Curve Analysis to test whether movement patterns were predictable by expression type and participant group. Results show significant interactions between expression type and group, and little effect of emotion valence on ASD expressions. Together, results support perceptions that expressions of individuals with ASD are different from—and more ambiguous than—those of neurotypical individuals’.
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