The Role of Racial and Developmental Experience on Emotional Adaptive Coding in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Caitlin M. Hudac, Megha Santhosh, Casey Celerian, Kyong Mee Chung, Woohyun Jung, Sara Jane Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sensitivity to emotional face aids in rapid detection and evaluation of others, such that by school-age, children and youth exhibit adult-like patterns when the prolonged viewing of an emotional face distorts the perception of a subsequent face. However, the developmental considerations of this phenomenon (known as emotional adaptive coding) are unclear given ongoing maturational and experiential changes, including the influence of own-race experiences or the lack of face expertise, as is evident in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study addressed whether emotional adaptive coding is sensitive to factors of face perception expertise, specifically self-race and developmental experience, in adults (age 19–28 years) and youth (age 10–16 years). Emotional adaptive coding was not influenced by race expertise (i.e., other versus same race identity) in White and Asian adults. Emotional adaptation coding during childhood and adolescence is consistent with adults, though youth with ASD exhibited stronger adaptor after-effects in response to other-race faces, relative to TD youth and adults. By extending prior work to examine the integration of race and emotional adaptive coding in ASD, we discovered that the strength of response in ASD is atypical when viewing other-race faces, which clarifies the role of racial and facial experience on emotional face adaption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Neuropsychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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