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Title: Recognizing biological motion and emotions from point light displays in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Authors: Nackaerts, Evelien
Wagemans, Johan
Helsen, Werner
Swinnen, Stephan
Wenderoth, Nici
Alaerts, Kaat # ×
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Public Library of Sciene
Series Title: PLoS One vol:7 issue:9 pages:1-12
Abstract: One of the main characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are problems with social interaction and communication. Here, we explored ASD-related alterations in ‘reading’ body language of other humans. Accuracy and reaction times were assessed from two observational tasks involving the recognition of ‘biological motion’ and ‘emotions’ from point-light displays (PLDs). Eye movements were recorded during the completion of the tests. Results indicated that typically developed-participants were more accurate than ASD-subjects in recognizing biological motion or emotions from PLDs. No accuracy differences were revealed on two control-tasks (involving the indication of color-changes in the moving point-lights). Group differences in reaction times existed on all tasks, but effect sizes were higher for the biological and emotion recognition tasks. Biological motion recognition abilities were related to a person’s ability to recognize emotions from PLDs. However, ASD-related atypicalities in emotion recognition could not entirely be attributed to more basic deficits in biological motion recognition, suggesting an additional ASD-specific deficit in recognizing the emotional dimension of the point light displays. Eye movements were assessed during the completion of tasks and results indicated that ASD-participants generally produced more saccades and shorter fixation-durations compared to the control-group. However, especially for emotion recognition, these altered eye movements were associated with reductions in task-performance.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Laboratory for Experimental Psychology
Research Group for Neuromotor Rehabilitation
Movement Control & Neuroplasticity Research Group
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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