Implicit discrimination of basic facial expressions of positive/negative emotion in fragile x syndrome and autism spectrum disorder

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  • Coventry University
  • Oxford Brookes University


Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impaired social functioning. We examined the spontaneous discrimination of happy and disgusted facial expressions, from neutral faces, in individuals with FXS (n  =  13, Mage  =  19.70) and ASD (n  =  15, Mage  =  11.00) matched on adaptive behavior and verbal abilities measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale. Eye gaze to the eyes and mouth of neutral faces was also measured. Results suggest individuals with FXS and ASD distinguish facial expressions spontaneously in the same way. Individuals with FXS looked significantly less at the eye region of neutral faces than individuals with ASD. These results provide insight into similarities and differences in face processing in two neurodevelopmental disorders noted for their similarities in social behavior.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-345
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • autism spectrum disorder, emotion discrimination, eye gaze, eye tracking, Fragile X syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas