Thursday, November 21, 2013

People with Autism Read Facial Expressions with a Focus on the Mouth

The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but for those with autism, the mouth will have to do.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center isolated neurons in the brain's amygdala that respond to facial expressions, and tested patients with autism against those without. Both groups could correctly identify a "happy" or "fearful" face, a function long associated with the amygdala.
But when the researchers examined which neurons fired in relation to areas of the face, they found that those with autism "read" the information from the mouth area more than from the eyes and seemed to be lacking a population of nerve cells that respond only to images of eyes.

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