Adept noticing of microexpressions by autistic people

Adept noticing of microexpressions by autistic people

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

A recent conversation article argued that microexpressions may be picked up at a high rate by a subset of people with autism. Usually, autistic people are thought to be unable or inadept at social cues and social expressions.

Is there any evidence for this subset of adept microaggression assessors?

Be aware that a subset of people with autism are highly adept at noticing micro expressions, the very quick expressions that flit across someone's face before they “rearrange” into a socially acceptable reaction. The people able to perceive this, however, are often unaware that they are supposed to ignore those expressions and respond to the “public face” instead. This can lead to social awkwardness.

Clark et al, 2008 show impairment in ASD individuals for detection of the emotional content of microexpressions.

In general, ASD individuals have trouble discriminating the nuance of facial expressions (though some argue otherwise: see for example Ozonoff et al 1990), for example the differences between genuine smiles and posed smiles (for example, Boraston et al 2008); ASD individuals can learn/train to improve recognition of these cues, however (for example, Solomon et al 2004).

Tardif et al 2007 suggests that slowing down a discrimination task improves performance for ASD individuals, again suggesting that impairments may be worse for briefer displays like microexpressions. This result is also consistent with the idea that, for some ASD individuals, detecting emotions is more about learned rules rather than the more "automatic" emotional detection process for typically developing people.

Overall, I don't see evidence for the claim in the linked article. That said, ASD individuals are each unique humans, and there could certainly be specific individuals who are sensitive to or have learned to recognize microexpressions, but the article doesn't cite any reference. A general caution to be aware of and sympathetic to difficulties with social cues for ASD folks applying for jobs makes sense to me; connecting this to enhanced microexpression detection does not.

(I'd add, also, that the existence, nature, and ubiquity of microexpressions is a bit controversial: see Porter & ten Brinke 2008)

Boraston, Z. L., Corden, B., Miles, L. K., Skuse, D. H., & Blakemore, S. J. (2008). Brief report: Perception of genuine and posed smiles by individuals with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(3), 574-580.

Clark, T. F., Winkielman, P., & McIntosh, D. N. (2008). Autism and the extraction of emotion from briefly presented facial expressions: stumbling at the first step of empathy. Emotion, 8(6), 803.

Porter, S., & ten Brinke, L. (2008). Reading between the lies: Identifying concealed and falsified emotions in universal facial expressions. Psychological science, 19(5), 508-514.

Ozonoff, S., Pennington, B. F., & Rogers, S. J. (1990). Are there emotion perception deficits in young autistic children?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 31(3), 343-361.

Solomon, M., Goodlin-Jones, B. L., & Anders, T. F. (2004). A social adjustment enhancement intervention for high functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder NOS. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 34(6), 649-668.

Tardif, C., Lainé, F., Rodriguez, M., & Gepner, B. (2007). Slowing down presentation of facial movements and vocal sounds enhances facial expression recognition and induces facial-vocal imitation in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(8), 1469-1484.

Winkielman, P., McIntosh, D. N., & Oberman, L. (2009). Embodied and disembodied emotion processing: Learning from and about typical and autistic individuals. Emotion Review, 1(2), 178-190.



High rates of depression are frequently reported in autistic adults. There have been no randomised trials investigating low-intensity psychological interventions for mild-moderate depression adapted for autistic adults.


This qualitative evaluation investigated the acceptability of the ADEPT pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) design and guided self-help intervention. Participants (autistic adults with a diagnosis of depression (PHQ-9 score ≥ 10)) were randomised to Guided Self-Help (GSH): low intensity psychological intervention based on Behavioural Activation adapted for autistic adults, or Treatment as Usual (TAU). 21 trial participants (14 GSH and 7 TAU), and 5 low intensity psychological therapists or ‘coaches’ were interviewed, and transcripts analysed thematically.


All participants and coaches welcomed an intervention for depression adapted for autistic adults due to current lack of provision in mainstream services. Interviews highlighted participants' preference for GSH over TAU. Dissatisfaction with prior experience of TAU was identified as a potential driver for differential attrition from the TAU arm. Participants who received GSH appreciated the coaches having a good understanding of autistic adults and were positive towards the aim and structure of the GSH intervention. Suggested improvements include more regularly checking progress with therapy goals.


A full scale RCT to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention is now warranted. Future trial study design needs to address potential for differential rate of participant recruitment and attrition between the treatment and comparison groups due to negative prior experience of TAU.

When someone tries to conceal their emotions, leakage of that emotion will often be evident in their face. The leakage may show as a micro expression.

With our training tools, you can become more skilled at noticing when an emotion is just beginning, when an emotion is being concealed, and when a person is unaware of what they are actually feeling.

Study suggests autistic people are at greater risk of being radicalized (x/post r/everythingscience)

Another case we discussed was that of Nicky Reilly, an 18-year-old man, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Reilly did not have many friends and lived in a poor area of Plymouth, England. Reilly clearly had difficulties relating to other people and had a fixation with terrorism and martyrdom. He sought and found affiliation (and also what he believed was the right life). He became a practising Muslim in 2002. After his girlfriend left him, he befriended a group of Muslim men. Reilly became obsessed with martyrdom and with the Twin Tower attacks. He had posters of the attacks on his wall and as wallpaper on his computer. He would watch videos of the 9/11 attacks and watch video clips of beheadings. Reilly believed that he would be entitled to a better life if he died a Muslim.

I for one am not going off on some "holy mission" to kill myself, but I still find this article to be an interesting read, if not mildly offensive since it hits too close to home.

As a Veteran, I am already on a watch list, Iɽ hate to be on another just because of some study done that said I was more likely to do something I have no interest in.

All the linked information from that article says the exact opposite, though.

Article 1: "The prevalence of individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) being associated with terroristic threats, lone wolf terrorism or affiliating with terroristic groups is rare."

Article 2: (Summary) It's not autism that increases the chance of violence it's trauma.

Article 3: "There is no empirical evidence to show that people with autism are at increased risk of engaging in terrorist offences nor that autism is over-represented in terrorist offenders."

Not saying this legitimizes the study or article, but I do have pretty rigid/B&W thinking when it comes to right and wrong. (Though I follow Secular Humanism, and Buddhist Sila)

I think it follows that if the person is attracted to an ideology that teaches martyrdom, or "kill the infidel" they would likewise have a strong attachment to it. And though this is true for NT's as well, it could be true for people with ASD, especially since a lot of us are pretty naive, trusting, and are unable to tell other people's true intentions. (I've been told that's true for me anyway).

The B&W thinking is where I had an issue with the article. I couldn't imagine my self, or my way of thinking to go down that road. Or one even close to it.

Being raise a "Christian", even as a child I had issues with the thinking and mentality of organized religions like that. The very nature of "you" versus "us" thinking made no sense to me.

To say that ASD individuals could be more susceptible "did not compute" :) I am sure there are those with aspergers that can understand it, which is why I posted it. Figured Iɽ get the community's take on it.

I think any group of isolated people are at risk of being radicalised. Much for the same reasons we have a higher proportion of drug addicts. Drug addicts come off as accepting and friendly people who welcome us into a community we lack. Jihadist do basically the same (in the beginning). only with worse intentions.

I find this area/topic very interesting - just like crime and autism in general. It's a collision of two special interests so I suppose that is to be expected. Unfortunately, when this article (and others) came out, rather than discuss it in a more neutral manner, many autistic groups/networks/websites/blogs came out in hostile defense against anything to do with it. There are a few autistic people in recent years who have become involved in terrorism or in spree killing - there was another thread recently where I named some - and I do think it is worth looking into and considering the possibility that the process of radicalization might be different or present different amongst some autistic people.

One of my previous jobs was working in an area of London where there was a higher risk of radicalization amongst students in the school in addition to knowing Nicky Reilly (we are close in age and grew up in the same area of the UK) I knew one other student who is now in jail for being involved in terrorist activity and there is an unfortunately high chance that his brother, who isn't autistic but who has a learning disability, is being pulled into terrorism as well. It wasn't uncommon for some of the autistic students at the school to be aware of or even parrot some of the hate speech they heard - one student cried during class one day because I would not convert to Islam so that meant I was going to suffer forever as a white devil. I can't even imagine the impact that kind of thing has on an autistic child or teenager and I do think this is a topic that is worth exploring further as part of a wider piece of research into autism and crime.

(Just to add - these things were reported at the time via appropriate safeguarding channels, in case that is not apparent. I just left before finding out the resolution from the particular student with LD that I mentioned)

Interview setting

People with autism often have sensory processing issues as well as difficulties understanding body language, facial expressions, vocal tone and social norms.

Panel interviews in which multiple people interview the candidate at once magnify these issues since the candidate has to focus on several people’s non-verbal and verbal communication at once. This is both challenging and exhausting for many with autism, resulting in underperformance.

Employers often prefer panel interviews over individual interviews, however, because they have been proven to minimize non-conscious biases in hiring. But organizations can achieve the same goal with sequential interviews.

During sequential interviews, candidates see multiple interviewers, but not all at the same time. Candidates with autism can be more fairly assessed using this method, although caution needs to be taken not to schedule too many interviews too closely together. Having interviews on separate days would be ideal when practical.

The location of the interview can also be important. Employers should select quiet spaces without visual distractions, heavy scents or fluorescent lighting. Avoid interviews conducted over meals since managing the unspoken etiquette of dining can be a substantial distraction for those with autism.

Examples of Microexpressions

Do you wonder what a microexpression looks like on the face? Here is an excerpt from a video by Kasya and Patryk Wezowski (Center for Bodylanguage), which shows examples of microexpressions. You’ll get to watch the full video at the end of this guide. If you look closely, you can spot three microexpressions that occur in the face of a young child.

Did you see them? These microexpressions were rather slow, usually they are even faster. You may wonder what these little facial movements mean and if you can ever learn to recognize and interpret them. Yes, you can! In this article you will learn how to reliably detect them.

Things That Interrupt Mind Reading


Having to decide whether or not to fire your gun is a stressful situation, and despite what TV shows tell us, it’s an unusual situation even for police officers. Over 90% of officers go their entire careers without shooting.

Stress makes you temporarily autistic. It impairs your ability to accurately read others’ facial micro expressions.

It also narrows and restricts your vision, limiting the amount of information you take in. When your vision is restricted, the black edge of a wallet looks a lot like a gun.

When you see a gun, you’re not going to take your eyes off it. Part of the reason Carroll couldn’t read the terror in Diallo’s face was that he wasn’t looking at Diallo’s face. To read someone’s mind, you have to look at the micro expressions in the person’s face.

When your heart rate goes above 175, your midbrain (the intuitive, primitive part of your brain) takes over. You can’t think clearly and you become aggressive.

All of these consequences of stress hindered the officers’ ability to effectively thin-slice.


Three of the officers were in their 20s. Carroll was 37. They were new to the unit, the neighborhood, and the stress that came with them. They lacked experiences that would have provided rehearsals for appropriate decision making in moments of extreme stress. Clearly, this is not how to read minds.


The officers didn’t feel they had time to stop, even for a few seconds, to assess the situation. They thought their lives were in danger. Officers are taught to find cover, which buys them time to think, but there was no place to shield themselves outside Diallo’s apartment.

It seems like it would take a long time to fire 41 bullets. Didn’t the officers have time, after the first shots were fired and Diallo was on the ground, to reassess the situation?

In reality, it takes about 2 ½ seconds for four people using semi-automatic guns to fire 41 bullets. The whole encounter, from the moment Carroll noticed Diallo outside the building to the moment Carroll sat on the stoop sobbing, having realized his mistake, happened in a matter of seconds. It’s crucial that we find ways to slow down our intuitive decision-making processes so our thin-slicing has a chance to take in all the relevant information.

Keep in mind that how to read minds is to read micro expressions. Facial emotion recognition is the key to unlocking a person’s thoughts and feelings.

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of "Blink" at Shortform. Learn the book's critical concepts in 20 minutes or less.

Here's what you'll find in our full Blink summary:

  • How you can tell if a marriage will fail, within 3 minutes
  • Why your first impressions are usually surprisingly accurate
  • The dark side to making first impressions, and how to avoid the,

Amanda Penn

Amanda Penn is a writer and reading specialist. She’s published dozens of articles and book reviews spanning a wide range of topics, including health, relationships, psychology, science, and much more. Amanda was a Fulbright Scholar and has taught in schools in the US and South Africa. Amanda received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Can you catch a sneeze like you can a yawn?

Sneezing may seem like a simple process, but it is actually set off by a remarkably complex chain reaction. A sneeze begins in the brain stem, where signals are dispatched through the nervous system that tell the eyes, mouth and throat to shut tight. Then in quick succession the abdominal and chest muscles contract while the throat suddenly relaxes. This one-two combo forces air, saliva and mucous out of the nose and mouth in an explosive eruption designed to expel contaminants [source: Hatfield].

So, what causes sneezing? Most often, it is allergies, followed closely by the common cold. Other primary causes include the involuntary nervous system (sneezing when exposed to bright light fits into this category), sneezing related to seizures, and psychological or emotional sneezing [source: Brody].

Fear, for example, causes the nasal membranes to shrink and this can make you sneeze. Other emotions like frustration, resentment, sadness or anguish can cause the nasal membranes to swell, which also can trigger a sneeze. The same is true of excitement, joy and sexual arousal.

It could be that if we are tuned in to others' emotions -- say the excitement of friends on the way to a concert or the grief of people close to us -- the very act of being empathetic and bonded with the group could result in similar emotion. And this emotion could lead to sneezing [source: Brody].

As scientists look for definitive answers as to whether and why social sneezing occurs, the animal kingdom may contain a few clues. Although the reasons for the response are still murky, baboons, chimpanzees and dogs have all been observed catching yawns from other members of their groups. No word yet on whether the same is true of a sneeze [source: Dell'Amore].

Even though humans and animals have been known to catch a yawn from each other, the phenomenon affects some people differently based on how aware they are of facial cues. For example, research has shown that yawns aren't contagious to children younger than 5 or to children who have autism. The reason is that they may not be as adept at noticing the facial cues of a yawn that would trigger a sympathetic reaction. Perhaps similar, yet uncharted, differences occur with adults, too. This would explain why some people are so apt to yawn (or perhaps sneeze) sympathetically and some aren't [source: Geggel, Preidt, Bakalar].

Of course, if you're dining with friends and the waiter's overzealous application of cracked pepper sends microscopic stimuli soaring toward everyone's nostrils, a chain-reaction sneeze fit may occur. But that's more about shared external stimuli than sympathetic sneezing.

For decades, there's been some evidence that sneezing and yawning fits are powered not only by external stimuli, but by the mind. A 1949 article in Psychosomatic Medicine chronicled a woman who had violent and nearly continuous sneezing fits punctuated by spells of yawning. Allergens and illness were ruled out as causes. The researcher, Harry H. Shilkert, M.D., was able to control the sneezing and yawning through the power of suggestion. He had the patient look at an incandescent light while telling herself to stop these actions, and it worked [source: Shilkert]. More than 50 other cases of psychogenic sneezing have been noted since then. While some were treated using "suggestion therapy," other treatments included anti-anxiety medications and a range of decongestants, antihistamines and corticosteroids [source: Songul].

Author's Note: Can you catch a sneeze like you can a yawn?

I had been reading about the mechanics of sneezing for less than two minutes when I could feel it building. My nose suddenly felt stuffy. A paragraph later and there it was: A sneeze. Was it the power of suggestion? Surely there's a doctoral student in need of a research topic, because I'd like to know if there's a mind/sneeze connection.

5 Unique Traits of People with Asperger’s That Look Like Superpowers

People with Asperger’s aren’t inflicted with all negative traits. Some Asperger’s traits can seem amazing.

In case you’re not familiar with Asperger’s syndrome, it’s considered a high-functioning form of autism. And when people, who aren’t well-educated on these syndromes, learn that Asperger’s is a form of autism, it doesn’t bring to mind advanced intelligence or creativity.

Thank goodness there are many of us who are familiar with autism, and with this familiarity, we can teach others.

Watch the video: Entertv: Οι Αλήθειες με τη Ζήνα στο Οικοτροφείο Άγιος Νικόλαος για αυτιστικά παιδιά Α (July 2022).


  1. Didal

    You hit the mark. Excellent thought, agree with you.

  2. Telkree

    Is distant

  3. Eulises

    I believe you were wrong. We need to discuss. Write to me in PM, speak.

  4. Mazulrajas

    Sorry to interrupt you, but I need a little more information.

  5. Alvyn

    a very good message

  6. Nikos

    When meeting a worthy person, think about how to catch up with him. When meeting with a low person, take a closer look at yourself and yourself ...

Write a message