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Faculty Mentor

Debra Spear

Abstract

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by social deficits in emotional comprehension. Since typical emotional attribution improves when using the left visual field, effects of lateralization on facial affect assessment were compared between children with ASD, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and typical development (TD). The ASD group showed significantly lower percent accuracy, longer response time and slower pulse rate than the TD group. Within the ASD group, there was a significant right visual field bias in emotional attribution tasks, which contrasted with the left visual field bias seen within the TD group. The PDD-NOS group demonstrated no visual field advantage. Emotional attribution tasks could be an assessment tool to deferentially diagnose disorders within the autism spectrum.

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