Angry faces capture humans attention more rapidly than emotionally positive faces. This phenomenon is referred to as the anger superiority effect (ASE). The detection of threatening social stimuli quickly and modifying our behaviors according to the context is beneficial for avoiding social conflict. Our visual system is, therefore, thought to have evolved to bemore sensitive to threatening faces than to other facial expressions. Angry faces are universally treated as signals of potential threat. They are processed rapidly and efficiently, and are particularly efficient in capturing attention. This phenomenon is defined as the anger superiority effect [ASE]. ASE has recently been tested in participants with Autism Spectrum Disorders [ASD] using the same face-in-the-crowd paradigm in adults, as well as children and adolescent. ASD are neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social communicative difficulties and restricted behaviors and interests. Previous studies have reported that they show specific difficulties in social and emotional information processing. ASE in children with and without ASD using upright/inverted schematic faces to explore the face-processing style employed by them during detection of emotional faces. The results revealed that faster detection of angry faces over happy faces was observed in both TD and ASD children. Interestingly, however, the effect was stronger in children with ASD compared to TD children when faces were inverted. These findings suggest that different face-processing style would be employed or different mechanisms of emotional processing would underlie the quick detection of angry faces in children with and without ASD.
Last date updated on June, 2014