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Beta event-related desynchronization as an index of individual differences in processing human facial expression: Further investigations of autistic traits in typically developing adults

Cooper, NR and Simpson, A and Till, A and Simmons, K and Puzzo, I (2013) 'Beta event-related desynchronization as an index of individual differences in processing human facial expression: Further investigations of autistic traits in typically developing adults.' Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (APR 20). ISSN 1662-5161

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Abstract

The human mirror neuron system (hMNS) has been associated with various forms of social cognition and affective processing including vicarious experience. It has also been proposed that a faulty hMNS may underlie some of the deficits seen in the autism spectrum disorders. In the present study we set out to investigate whether emotional facial expressions could modulate a putative EEG index of hMNS activation (mu suppression) and if so, would this differ according to the individual level of autistic traits (high versus low AQ score). Participants were presented with 3 second films of actors opening and closing their hands (classic hMNS mu-suppression protocol) while simultaneously wearing happy, angry or neutral expressions. Musuppression was measured in the alpha and low beta bands. The low AQ group displayed greater low beta ERD to both angry and neutral expressions. The high AQ group displayed greater low beta ERD to angry than to happy expressions. There was also significantly more low beta ERD to happy faces for the low than for the high AQ group. In conclusion, an interesting interaction between AQ group and emotional expression revealed that hMNS activation can be modulated by emotional facial expressions and that this is differentiated according to individual differences in the level of autistic traits. The EEG index of hMNS activation (mu suppression) seems to be a sensitive measure of the variability in facial processing in typically developing individuals with high and low self reported traits of autism. © 2013 Cooper, Simpson, Till, Simmons and Puzzo.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2013 09:17
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2019 04:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7214

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