Brief Description: This research study is designed to examine how children with autism and typically developing children process the emotional content of faces and voices. In the study, we will measure children's brain activity as they look at pictures of happy and fearful faces and listen to happy and fearful voices. They will also participate in several behavioral assessments designed to measure their developmental levels, as well as their social and language skills.
Eligibility for study participation:
Children: between 3 and 6 years of age typically developing (for a comparison population) or with a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, or PDD-NOS, who score in the normal or above normal range on cognitive and language tests and meet other inclusionary criteria.
This study involves between 2 and 4 visits to the Lab. Each session will last about 1 ½ hours, and will be scheduled at a time that is convenient for you and your child, which can include evenings or weekends. Parents will be with their child at all times.
The ability to process emotional information in faces and voices is critical to everyday social interactions. Children with autism have difficulties understanding the emotions of others, and research has shown that they also have atypical brain responses to faces posed in emotional expressions, which may contribute to their difficulties in social interaction. In this study, we are interested in learning more about how children with autism process emotional information in faces and voices, and how they use that information to develop expectations about what information might come next.