Face Perception in Children with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome


Requests for reprints to: Dr Dorothy Bishop, MRC Applied Psychology Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge CB2 2EF, U.K.


Abstract— Children with diagnoses of either autism or Asperger's syndrome were matched on measures of verbal mental age with nonautistic control children. They were tested on their abilities to process both facial and nonfacial stimuli. There were no significant differences between the low ability autistic and control groups, but the high ability autistic and Asperger's children performed significantly worse than controls across all tests. Group averages masked substantial individual variation. The results are seen as indicating a general perceptual deficit that is not specific to faces or emotions. This appears to be a common correlate of autism and Asperger's syndrome, rather than a core symptom.