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The autistic brain can process local but not global emotion regularities in facial and musical sequences.

Authors
  • Xu, Jie1
  • Zhou, Linshu2
  • Liu, Fang3
  • Xue, Chao1
  • Jiang, Jun2
  • Jiang, Cunmei2
  • 1 Department of Psychology, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China. , (China)
  • 2 Music College, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China. , (China)
  • 3 School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Autism Research
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2022
Volume
15
Issue
2
Pages
222–240
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/aur.2635
PMID: 34792299
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Whether autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with a global processing deficit remains controversial. Global integration requires extraction of regularity across various timescales, yet little is known about how individuals with ASD process regularity at local (short timescale) versus global (long timescale) levels. To this end, we used event-related potentials to investigate whether individuals with ASD would show different neural responses to local (within trial) versus global (across trials) emotion regularities extracted from sequential facial expressions; and if so, whether this visual abnormality would generalize to the music (auditory) domain. Twenty individuals with ASD and 21 age- and IQ-matched individuals with typical development participated in this study. At an early processing stage, ASD participants exhibited preserved neural responses to violations of local emotion regularity for both faces and music. At a later stage, however, there was an absence of neural responses in ASD to violations of global emotion regularity for both faces and music. These findings suggest that the autistic brain responses to emotion regularity are modulated by the timescale of sequential stimuli, and provide insight into the neural mechanisms underlying emotional processing in ASD. © 2021 International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals LLC.

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