Becoming a face expert: a computerized face-training program for high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Typically developing individuals process faces using strategies that differ from those used for processing objects, and which tend to be holistic and based on configural information. Behavioral and neuroimaging studies suggest that individuals with autism may not utilize the same specialized strategies for face processing. The present study was designed to investigate whether computerized face-specific training, based on a modified version of Gauthier and Tarr's (1997) expertise protocol, can influence the face processing strategies and abilities of adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Ten individuals with ASD were assigned to either a training protocol designed to improve face processing (N = 5) or a control condition (N = 5). Outcomes assessed holistic processing and configural sensitivity. All trained individuals achieved a behavioral criterion of developing expertise in face recognition established in the literature. Outcome assessments indicated that the trained group showed significantly greater sensitivity to second-order configural relations compared with untrained controls, but did not differ on the measure of holistic processing. These findings suggest that face processing ability and strategies in autism can be significantly improved through training.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Faja, S; Aylward, E; Bernier, R; Dawson, G

Published Date

  • 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 33 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 24

PubMed ID

  • 18443967

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-6942

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/87565640701729573


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England