Janssen Research & Development, Northeastern University, Duke University School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, University of Washington
Automatic Recognition of Posed Facial Expression of Emotion in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Abstract: Facial expression is impaired in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but rarely systematically studied. We focus on the ability of individuals with ASD to produce facial expressions of emotions in response to a verbal prompt. We used the Janssen Autism Knowledge Engine (JAKE®), including automated facial expression analysis software (FACET) to measure facial expressions in individuals with ASD (n = 144) and a typically developing (TD) comparison group (n = 41). Differences in ability to produce facial expressions were observed between ASD and TD groups, demonstrated by activation of facial action units (happy, scared, surprised, disgusted, but not angry or sad). Activation of facial action units correlated with parent-reported social communication skills. This approach has potential for diagnostic and response to intervention measures.