Lydia Whitaker

Lydia Whitaker

Lydia Whitaker completed her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at the University of Essex. Her primarily interests are in face and object processing of typically developing children and children with autistic spectrum disorder but she also has interests in child development, imitation and adult face processing. Lydia's Principal supervisor is Debi Roberson

ECVP 2013 - Individuals with autism spectrum disorders benefit from the addition of coloured tints when discriminating intensities of facial expressions.

Authors: Lydia Whitaker, Catherine Jones, Arnold Wilkins, Debi Roberson

Impairments in the processing of facial expressions often occur in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), possibly related to atypical perceptual processing and/or visual stress. An established means of reducing visual stress and improving reading speed in typically developing (TD) individuals is the use of transparent coloured tints (e.g. Wilkins, Jeanes, Pumfrey, & Laskier, 1996). Ludlow, Taylor-Whiffen and Wilkins (2012) recently found that coloured overlays improved recognition of complex emotions from the eye area in individuals with ASD.

In the present study we measured judgments of emotional intensity using self-selected transparent coloured tints in 16 children with ASD (mean age=11;6) and 16 age and full-scale IQ matched TD controls (mean age=11;2). Participants judged which of two simultaneously presented faces expressed the most intense emotion for face pairs displaying anger, sadness, disgust, fear, happiness or surprise.

The face pairs were presented with or without coloured tints, chosen individually as best improving the perceived clarity of text. ASD children’s judgments of emotional intensity improved significantly in accuracy with the addition of coloured tints, but TD children’s did not; a result that would be consistent with a link between impairments in facial expression processing and visual stress in individuals with ASD.

Click on image to view a PDF of the poster.


ECVP 2013 - Individuals with autism spectrum disorders benefit from the addition

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