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postgraduate thesis: Visual salience of children with high-functioning autism and their understanding of emotions

TitleVisual salience of children with high-functioning autism and their understanding of emotions
Authors
Issue Date2011
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Wong, K. [王潔瑩]. (2011). Visual salience of children with high-functioning autism and their understanding of emotions. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5063905
AbstractThe present research investigated the nature of emotional understanding difficulties commonly observed among children with High-functioning Autism (HFA). The first study examined HFA children’s understanding of the literal meaning of emotion labels (symbolic representation of emotions). Participants were 27 children with HFA, aged 11 to 15, and 24 children with typical development (TD), matched on age and cognitive ability. They were asked to define 12 basic and complex emotions and to provide examples or personal experiences for each emotion. Results showed that the two groups did not differ in their ability to provide lexical definitions for both simple and complex emotions. They also did not differ significantly either in their ability to apply the emotion labels in daily examples or personal experiences. The second study examined the visual attention of the same groups of children and their ability to identify emotions (iconic representation of emotions), using eye-tracking technology. Participants were asked to view pictures and video clips with a target person showing an emotion. There were a total of four conditions: (i) photo showing the face of the person only; (ii) photo showing the target person along with another person ; (iii) silent video clip showing the target person with another person, with a short interaction prior to the showing of the target emotion; and (iv) video clip similar to Condition iii, but with auditory and visual distractions present. We wanted to examine if the children with HFA would identify the target emotions (3 basic emotions and 3 complex emotions) as well as the TD group, and whether their patterns of visual attention would be similar in response to stimuli with different degrees of contextual complexity. Results showed that the visual fixation time of children with HFA was similar to that of the TD group when the stimulus was a still picture showing a face only, and their accuracy in naming the emotions did not differ significantly. However, as the stimulus became more complex, being photographs with a background or video-clips with interactions, the HFA group attended less to the face of the person who displayed the emotions, and they became less accurate in naming both basic and complex emotions than their TD peers. The results also showed a trend of children with HFA attending more to the body of the people than TD children. The two studies provided evidence that HFA children’s difficulty with emotional perception is more a result of attentional idiosyncrasies in the face of complex daily situations than problems at the level of conceptual understanding.
DegreeDoctor of Psychology
SubjectAutistic children - Psychological aspects.
Emotions in children.
Dept/ProgramEducational Psychology

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWong, Kathy.-
dc.contributor.author王潔瑩.-
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.identifier.citationWong, K. [王潔瑩]. (2011). Visual salience of children with high-functioning autism and their understanding of emotions. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5063905-
dc.description.abstractThe present research investigated the nature of emotional understanding difficulties commonly observed among children with High-functioning Autism (HFA). The first study examined HFA children’s understanding of the literal meaning of emotion labels (symbolic representation of emotions). Participants were 27 children with HFA, aged 11 to 15, and 24 children with typical development (TD), matched on age and cognitive ability. They were asked to define 12 basic and complex emotions and to provide examples or personal experiences for each emotion. Results showed that the two groups did not differ in their ability to provide lexical definitions for both simple and complex emotions. They also did not differ significantly either in their ability to apply the emotion labels in daily examples or personal experiences. The second study examined the visual attention of the same groups of children and their ability to identify emotions (iconic representation of emotions), using eye-tracking technology. Participants were asked to view pictures and video clips with a target person showing an emotion. There were a total of four conditions: (i) photo showing the face of the person only; (ii) photo showing the target person along with another person ; (iii) silent video clip showing the target person with another person, with a short interaction prior to the showing of the target emotion; and (iv) video clip similar to Condition iii, but with auditory and visual distractions present. We wanted to examine if the children with HFA would identify the target emotions (3 basic emotions and 3 complex emotions) as well as the TD group, and whether their patterns of visual attention would be similar in response to stimuli with different degrees of contextual complexity. Results showed that the visual fixation time of children with HFA was similar to that of the TD group when the stimulus was a still picture showing a face only, and their accuracy in naming the emotions did not differ significantly. However, as the stimulus became more complex, being photographs with a background or video-clips with interactions, the HFA group attended less to the face of the person who displayed the emotions, and they became less accurate in naming both basic and complex emotions than their TD peers. The results also showed a trend of children with HFA attending more to the body of the people than TD children. The two studies provided evidence that HFA children’s difficulty with emotional perception is more a result of attentional idiosyncrasies in the face of complex daily situations than problems at the level of conceptual understanding.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50639055-
dc.subject.lcshAutistic children - Psychological aspects.-
dc.subject.lcshEmotions in children.-
dc.titleVisual salience of children with high-functioning autism and their understanding of emotions-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5063905-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Psychology-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducational Psychology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5063905-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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