Facial expression production and recognition in autism spectrum disorders: a shifting landscape

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Social "difficulties" associated with ASD may be a product of neurotypical-autistic differences in emotion expression and recognition. Research suggests that neurotypical and autistic individuals exhibit expressive differences, with autistic individuals displaying less frequent expressions that are rated lower in quality by non-autistic raters. Autistic individuals have difficulties recognizing neurotypical facial expressions; neurotypical individuals have difficulties recognizing autistic expressions. However, findings are mixed. Task-related factors (e.g., intensity of stimuli) and participant characteristics (e.g., age, IQ, comorbid diagnoses) may contribute to the mixed findings. The authors conclude by highlighting important areas for future research and the clinical implications of the discussed findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalThe Psychiatric clinics of North America
Issue number1
Early online date30 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors have nothing to disclose. This project was supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC, United Kingdom) MR/R015813/1 and the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under ERC-2017-STG Grant Agreement No 757583.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Facial expression
  • Emotion recognition
  • Emotion expression
  • Interaction
  • Alexithymia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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