People with Autism Read Emotions Using Body Language
There is a stereotype that people with Autism are individuals who lack empathy and can’t show/understand emotion. The idea that people with autism lack empathy and can’t understand emotion is wrong.
People with autism are just as good at reading emotions in body language as kids without the disorder according to Rachel David from New Scientist, “The findings call into question whether people with autism really do have trouble reading others emotions, or if previous studies mistakenly focused on reading emotion from faces and eyes rather than the body as a whole.”
Children and adults with autism tend to struggle with eye contact, but the study shows that reading body language isn’t quite that difficult. In the study, Peterson and her colleagues showed children between the ages of 5 and 12 full-body photos of trained actors portraying happy, sad, angry, afraid, disgusted or surprised emotions. The actors’ faces were blurred. The children with autism did just as well as the children without the disorder in identifying the posed emotions. In a similar test that just showed people’s eyes, the children with autism did not score as well as those without.
The kids were able to look at the pictures and judge emotions without the added social pressure of interacting with a real person. People with autism seem to have trouble adapting their behavior in response to others emotions-simply recognizing emotion in body language is just part of the picture.
The information that kids with autism can read body cues might help the teachers, parents or clinicians who work with them every day. Body language is an important way for people with autism to communicate with those who do not have the disorder.