Body language and autism

According to research reported in this article, people with autism have difficult interpreting body language, which makes it difficult for them to understand other people’s emotions. The research used animated clips of figures made up of dots showing emotions which the participants with autism had trouble identifying them correctly. I wonder how they would have fared if real people or videos of real people were displaying the emotions.

On a related note, in Frans de Waal’s book, Our Inner Ape, which I read recently, he mentions an American woman with Asperger’s Syndrome who found she was able to relate better to gorillas than humans and got a job as a gorilla keeper. She found it difficult to deal with direct stares and questions from people, and preferred the way the gorillas were “looking without looking, and understanding without speaking”. She was able to understand the body language of the gorillas, and found that they responded to her as well, comforting her when she showed signs of distress.

This entry was posted in Animal communication, Language.

3 Responses to Body language and autism

  1. Wow… Your blog is amazing and you’re really impressive! I’ll come and visit you more often!

  2. peter j. franke says:

    Because I was in the wilderness for a couple of weeks, I just now go through all the recent items in this blog. I just commented on the facial expressions item. Now I read this and think: “May be there is a connection between the gorilla body language: “looking without looking and understanding without speaking” and the behaviour in a number of (human) cultures to avoid direct gazes…

  3. Solar Panel says:

    Hi, aesome post. I just found your website and I’m already a fan. 🙂

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