Emotions, Autism, the Face and Body Language

Just found an interest blog, PsyBlog. At the moment its taking a look at research on emotion including we appraise emotions, empathy, Alexithyma (the inability to identify emotions) and emotional processing in Autism.

The results showed that individuals with ASDs did not automatically mimic facial expressions they saw in the pictures, as did the control group. On the other hand, they had no problem imitating facial expression explicitly, indeed they were better at imitation than the control group.

Lack of empathy is one of the telltale symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. See Asperger’s and the Emotions of Shapes, Music and Emotion, Emotion and Autism and Babies, Emotions and the Future.

The face is central to reading and displaying emotion and there is a lot of interesting research on how the face display’s emotions. A pioneer in this field is Paul Ekman and there is an interesting web site, DataFace, that has a lot more material on the subject.

Finally an interesting video debunking body language or at least the common understanding of it. Its an hour long lecture by Dr. Janet Bavelas. I’ve only watched the first few minutes but Dr Bavelas got my attention by offering $1000 of her own monday to anyone ‘For scientific evidence that any nonverbal behaviour reliably detects a psychological state which that person does not know or does not wish to reveal’.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the links. I certainly didn’t know that there was a name for it ‘alexithyma’ so that will help me with my own amateur ‘research’.
    Thank you

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