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Facial expression recognition as a candidate marker for autism spectrum disorder: how frequent and severe are deficits?

Overview of attention for article published in Molecular Autism, January 2018
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (88th percentile)

Mentioned by

29 tweeters


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98 Mendeley
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Facial expression recognition as a candidate marker for autism spectrum disorder: how frequent and severe are deficits?
Published in
Molecular Autism, January 2018
DOI 10.1186/s13229-018-0187-7
Pubmed ID

E. Loth, L. Garrido, J. Ahmad, E. Watson, A. Duff, B. Duchaine


Impairments in social communication are a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Because the ability to infer other people's emotions from their facial expressions is critical for many aspects of social communication, deficits in expression recognition are a plausible candidate marker for ASD. However, previous studies on facial expression recognition produced mixed results, which may be due to differences in the sensitivity of the many tests used and/or the heterogeneity among individuals with ASD. To ascertain whether expression recognition may serve as a diagnostic marker (which distinguishes people with ASD from a comparison group) or a stratification marker (which helps to divide ASD into more homogeneous subgroups), a crucial first step is to move beyond identification of mean group differences and to better understand the frequency and severity of impairments. This study tested 46 individuals with ASD and 52 age- and IQ-matched typically developing (TD) participants on the Films Expression Task, which combines three key features of real-life expression recognition: naturalistic facial expressions, a broad range of simple and complex emotions, and short presentation time. Test-retest reliability was assessed in 28 individuals who did not participate in the main study and revealed acceptable reliability (ICC r = .74). Case-control comparisons showed highly significant mean group differences for accuracy (p = 1.1 × 10- 10), with an effect size (Cohen's d = 1.6), more than twice as large as the mean effect size reported in a previous meta-analysis (Uljarevic and Hamilton, 2012, J Autism Dev Disord). The ASD group also had significantly increased mean reaction times overall (p = .00015, d = .83) and on correct trials (p = .0002, d = .78). However, whereas 63% of people with ASD showed severe deficits (they performed below two standard deviations of the TD mean, a small subgroup (15.3%) performed normally (within one standard deviation of the mean). These findings indicate that the majority of people with ASD have severe expression recognition deficits and that the Films Expression Test is a sensitive task for biomarker research in ASD. Future work is needed to establish whether ASD subgroups with and without expression recognition deficits differ from one another in terms of their symptom profile or neurobiological underpinnings.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 29 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 98 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 98 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 17 17%
Student > Master 14 14%
Researcher 12 12%
Student > Bachelor 11 11%
Other 10 10%
Other 17 17%
Unknown 17 17%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 35 36%
Neuroscience 11 11%
Medicine and Dentistry 9 9%
Computer Science 5 5%
Nursing and Health Professions 4 4%
Other 14 14%
Unknown 20 20%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 16. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 June 2020.
All research outputs
of 15,488,552 outputs
Outputs from Molecular Autism
of 506 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 366,366 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Molecular Autism
of 4 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 15,488,552 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 92nd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 506 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 29.0. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 71% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 366,366 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 4 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them