EEG study of facial emotion recognition in the fathers of autisticchildren

Mehdizadehfar, V., Ghassemi, F., Fallah, A., & Pouretemad, H. (2020). EEG study of facial emotion recognition in the fathers of autistic children. Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, 56, 101721.


Problems in recognizing facial expressions have been observed in children and adults diagnosed withAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and provided deficits in social interactions. Mild autistic traits havebeen also detected in first-degree relatives of children with autism, so in this study, difficulty in facialemotion recognition in the fathers of children with autism is investigated using EEG signals. Fifteen bio-logical fathers of children with a diagnosis of autism and fifteen fathers of typically developing childrenwith no personal or family history of autism participated in this study. Recognition of the emotional facialexpression task was evaluated using a set of photos from Cohn-Kanade (ck+) consisting of 6 categories(mild and extreme anger, happiness, and sadness). Group Independent Component Analysis (gICA), powerspectra and wavelet power were used to analyze the participants’ EEG signals. Using ANOVA for groupcomparisons showed significant differences (P-value < 0.01) in the relative power and wavelet power ofgroup independent components in two frequency ranges (theta and beta). Post-hoc comparisons showedthat the central, right occipital and parietal power of group-ICs differentiated the two groups in recog-nition of emotions and also, more power differences were detected in recognition of the lower intensitylevel of emotions in beta frequency (P-value < 0.01). According to the obtained results, ASD fathers haddifficulty in identifying facial expressions, in particular, mild expressions, suggesting that ASD fathersmay have impaired recognition of emotions as do autistic children.