SATO Wataru Laboratory

Impaired overt facial mimicry in response to dynamic facial expressions in high-functioning autism spectrum disorders

(Yoshimura, Sato, Uono, & Toichi: J Autism Dev Disord)

Previous electromyographic studies have reported that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) exhibited atypical patterns of facial muscle activity in response to facial expression stimuli.
However, whether such activity is expressed in visible facial mimicry remains unknown.

To investigate this issue, we videotaped facial responses in high-functioning individuals with ASD and controls to dynamic and static facial expressions of anger and happiness.

Visual coding of facial muscle activity and the subjective impression ratings showed reduced congruent responses to dynamic expressions in the ASD group.
Additionally, this decline was related to social dysfunction.

These results suggest that impairment in overt facial mimicry in response to others°«dynamic facial expressions may underlie difficulties in reciprocal social interaction among individuals with ASD.

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