Event-related brain potentials reveal anomalies in temporal processing of faces in autism spectrum disorder.

Journal Article

BACKGROUND: Individuals with autism exhibit impairments in face recognition, and neuroimaging studies have shown that individuals with autism exhibit abnormal patterns of brain activity during face processing. The current study examined the temporal characteristics of face processing in autism and their relation to behavior. METHOD: High-density event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded to images of faces, inverted faces, and objects from 9 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (15-42 years old) and 14 typical individuals (16-37 years old). RESULTS: With respect to a face-sensitive ERP component (N170), individuals with autism exhibited longer N170 latencies to faces than typical individuals but comparable latencies to objects. Typical individuals exhibited longer N170 latencies to inverted as compared to upright faces, whereas individuals with autism did not show differences in N170 latency to upright versus inverted faces. Neural speed of face processing, as reflected in N170 latency, correlated with performance on a face recognition task for individuals with autism. CONCLUSIONS: These data provide evidence for slowed neural speed of face processing in autism and highlight the role of speed of processing in face processing impairments in autism.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McPartland, J; Dawson, G; Webb, SJ; Panagiotides, H; Carver, LJ

Published Date

  • October 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1235 - 1245

PubMed ID

  • 15335344

Pubmed Central ID

  • 15335344

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9630

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00318.x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England