Reduced set averaging of face identity in children and adolescents with autism

Rhodes, Gillian, Neumann, Markus F, Ewing, Louise and Palermo, Romina (2015) Reduced set averaging of face identity in children and adolescents with autism. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68 (7). pp. 1391-403. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

Individuals with autism have difficulty abstracting and updating average representations from their diet of faces. These averages function as perceptual norms for coding faces, and poorly calibrated norms may contribute to face recognition difficulties in autism. Another kind of average, known as an ensemble representation, can be abstracted from briefly glimpsed sets of faces. Here we show for the first time that children and adolescents with autism also have difficulty abstracting ensemble representations from sets of faces. On each trial, participants saw a study set of four identities and then indicated whether a test face was present. The test face could be a set average or a set identity, from either the study set or another set. Recognition of set averages was reduced in participants with autism, relative to age- and ability-matched typically developing participants. This difference, which actually represents more accurate responding, indicates weaker set averaging and thus weaker ensemble representations of face identity in autism. Our finding adds to the growing evidence for atypical abstraction of average face representations from experience in autism. Weak ensemble representations may have negative consequences for face processing in autism, given the importance of ensemble representations in dealing with processing capacity limitations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism,face processing,set averaging,ensemble representations
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2016 11:00
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2019 14:48
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/57271
DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2014.981554

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