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Fast Periodic Visual Stimulation EEG Reveals Reduced Neural Sensitivity to Fearful Faces in Children with Autism

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

We objectively quantified the neural sensitivity of school-aged boys with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to detect briefly presented fearful expressions by combining fast periodic visual stimulation with frequency-tagging electroencephalography. Images of neutral faces were presented at 6 Hz, periodically interleaved with fearful expressions at 1.2 Hz oddball rate. While both groups equally display the face inversion effect and mainly rely on information from the mouth to detect fearful expressions, boys with ASD generally show reduced neural responses to rapid changes in expression. At an individual level, fear discrimination responses predict clinical status with an 83% accuracy. This implicit and straightforward approach identifies subtle deficits that remain concealed in behavioral tasks, thereby opening new perspectives for clinical diagnosis.
Journal: Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders
ISSN: 0162-3257
Issue: 11
Volume: 49
Pages: 4658 - 4673
Publication year:2019