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Perceptual ExpertiseBridging Brain and Behavior$
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Isabel Gauthier, Michael Tarr, and Daniel Bub

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309607

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309607.001.0001

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Face Processing in Autism: Insights from the Perceptual Expertise Framework

Face Processing in Autism: Insights from the Perceptual Expertise Framework

Chapter:
(p.139) 5 Face Processing in Autism: Insights from the Perceptual Expertise Framework
Source:
Perceptual Expertise
Author(s):

Kim M. Curby

Verena Willenbockel

James W. Tanaka

Robert T. Schultz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309607.003.0006

Although persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a range of cognitive impairments, their perceptual abilities are generally preserved, with the notable exception of face perception. This deficit goes beyond face recognition and discrimination to include impairments processing emotion, gaze direction, and gender, and may contribute to the social impairments associated with ASD. Atypical face processing is evident in behavioral measures of processing strategy, as well as electrophysiological and neuroimaging data. The absence of perceptual expertise with faces may arise from reduced and abnormal experience with faces across the course of development, potentially caused by a combination of visuocognitive and socioaffective abnormalities. This notion is supported by results of training interventions, where persons with ASD are trained to become “face experts” using training protocols that have been successful for teaching other forms of object expertise.

Keywords:   face recognition, autism spectrum disorder, holistic processing, expertise, emotion processing, n170, fFA

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