Recognition of own- and other-race faces in autism spectrum disorders

C. Ellie Wilson, Romina Palermo, A. Mike Burton, Jon Brock

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Empirical data regarding the extent of face recognition abnormalities in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is inconsistent. Here, 27 ASD and 47 typically developing (TD) children completed an immediate two-alternative forced-choice identity matching task. We contrasted recognition of own-and other-race faces, and, counter to prediction, we found a typical advantage for recognizing own-over other-race faces in both the ASD and TD groups. In addition, ASD and TD groups responded similarly to stimulus manipulations (use of identical or different photographs for identity matching and cropping stimuli to remove hair information). However, age-standardized scores varied widely within the ASD sample, and a subgroup of ASD participants with impaired face recognition did not exhibit a significant own-race recognition advantage. An explanation regarding early experience with faces is considered, and implications for research of individual variation within ASD are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1939-1954
Number of pages16
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • autism
  • face recognition
  • other-race effect
  • individual differences
  • developmental disorders
  • Asperger-Syndrome
  • children
  • perception
  • language
  • infancy
  • individuals
  • experience
  • childhood
  • attention

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