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Faculty Mentor

Debra Spear

Abstract

Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) tend to show under-activation of the right fusiform face area of the ventral temporal cortex when viewing emotional faces, which may explain their affect comprehension deficits. This left hemisphere dominance, indicative of a piecemeal processing strategy, has been shown a less effective method of understanding true emotion. The present study aimed to condition the left-visual-field-to right-FFA pathway by allowing children with ASD to work through an emotion-matching computer program. One group completed the experiment with both eyes uncovered, while the other worked with only their left visual field open. Though no significant differences between improvement in accuracy, reaction time, and physiological response were found between the groups, almost all participants showed some improvement, and future investigations with larger sample sizes would be useful in puzzling out the benefit of visual field isolation in emotion comprehension interventions in children with ASD.

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