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FaceMaze: An Embodied Cognition Approach To Facial Expression Production in Autism Spectrum Disorder

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dc.contributor.author Gordon, Iris
dc.date.accessioned 2014-08-25T22:45:30Z
dc.date.available 2014-08-25T22:45:30Z
dc.date.copyright 2014 en_US
dc.date.issued 2014-08-25
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/5599
dc.description.abstract Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typified by deficits in social communication, including flat and disorganized affect. Previous research investigating affect production in ASD has demonstrated that individuals on the spectrum show impairments in posing, but not mimicking facial expressions. These findings thus point to a deficit in ASD individuals’ integration of sensory/motor facets in the cognitive representation of a facial expression, and not a deficit in motor or sensory ability. The goal of the current project was to validate a computer-based intervention that targets facial expression production using methods ground in embodied cognition to connect between the sensory and motor facets of facial displays. The “FaceMaze” is a pac-man like game in which players navigate through a maze of obstacles, and are required to produce high-quality facial expressions in order to overcome obstacles. FaceMaze relies on the Computer Expression Recognition Toolbox (CERT) program, which analyzes user’s real-time facial expressions and provides feedback based on the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). In the first part of this project, the FaceMaze was validated using a typically developing (TD) adult population. In Experiment 1, participants were prompted to produce expressions of “Happy”, “Angry” and “Surprise” before and after playing FaceMaze. Electromyography (EMG) analysis targeted three expression-specific facial muscles: Zygomaticus Major (ZM, Happy), Corrugator Supercilii (CS, Angry) and Obicularis Oculi (OO, Surprise). Results showed that relative to pre-game productions, an increase in activation in the ZM for happy expressions, and an increase in CS response for angry expressions was observed after playing the corresponding version of FaceMaze. Critically, no change in muscle activity for the control expression “Surprise” was observed. In Experiment 2, the perceived quality of facial expressions after FaceMaze/ CERT training was compared to those produced after traditional FACS training. “Happy,” “Angry” and “Surprise” expressions were videotaped before and after the FaceMaze game and FACS training, and productions were assessed by a group of naïve raters. Whereas observers rated post-Happy expressions as happier for both FaceMaze and FACS, only the post-Angry expressions in the FaceMaze condition were rated as angrier and less happy after training. In the second half of this project, the efficacy of the FaceMaze was validated by children with ASD, and age- and IQ-matched, typically developing (TD) controls. In Experiment 3 (in press), children were asked to pose “Happy “, “Angry”, and “Surprise” expressions before and after game-play. Expressions were video-recorded and presented to naïve raters who were required to assess video-clips on expression quality. Findings show that the ASD groups’ post-FaceMaze “Happy” and “Angry” expressions were higher in quality than their pre-FaceMaze productions. TD children also showed higher expression quality ratings for the “Angry” expression post-gameplay, but no enhancement of the “Happy” expression was found after FaceMaze. Moreover, the ASD groups’ post-FaceMaze expressions were rated as equal in quality to those of the TD group. These findings not only underscore the fidelity of the FaceMaze game in enhancing facial expression production, but also provide support for a theory of disordered embodied cognition in ASD. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/ *
dc.subject Autism Intervention en_US
dc.subject Facial Expressions en_US
dc.subject Expression Production en_US
dc.subject Embodied Cognition en_US
dc.title FaceMaze: An Embodied Cognition Approach To Facial Expression Production in Autism Spectrum Disorder en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Tanaka, James William
dc.degree.department Department of Psychology en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.rights.temp Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Gordon, I., Pierce, M.D., Bartlett, M.S., & Tanaka, J.W. (2014) Training facial expression production in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autsim and Developmental Disorders. doi 10.1007/s10803-014-2118-6 en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US


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