Race-contingent Afterffects in Persons with High Functioning Autism

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between norm-based coding and visual experience by examining race-contingent facial expression aftereffect in autism spectrum disorder(ASD). The study I investigated whether the race-contingent expression aftereffect takes place in 48 typically developing(TD) adults. The study II compared the performance of 16 high functioning children with ASD and 16 matched(aged and IQ) TD children. All participants were asked to judge the expression of the neutral face after adapting to the anti-expression face in both Asian and Caucasian conditions. In the study I, TD adults showed significantly larger aftereffect in same-race condition than other-race condition. In the study II, race-contingent expression aftereffect was significant in TD children. However, in ASD group, there was no significant race-contingent aftereffect between the race conditions. These findings suggest that the deficits of norm-based coding in ASD is related with poor face norm formation with visual experience.

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