University of Oulu

Kuusikko-Gauffin, S., Elsheikh, S., Bölte, S., Omar, M., Riad, G., Ebeling, H., Rautio, A. & Moilanen, I. (2018). Emotion recognition from the eye region in children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder in Arab and Scandinavian countries. Scandinavian journal of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology. 6(4).

Emotion recognition from the eye region in children with and without autism spectrum disorder in Arab and Scandinavian countries

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Author: Kuusikko-Gauffin, Sanna1; Elsheikh, Sherin1,2; Bölte, Sven3;
Organizations: 1PEDEGO Research Unit, Child Psychiatry, Medical Faculty, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Child Psychiatry Unit, Abbassia Mental Hospital, Cairo, Egypt
3Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders ( Pediatric Neuropsychiatry Unit, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
4Institute of Postgraduate Childhood Studies, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
5Faculty of Arts, Psycho logy Department, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt
6Clinic of Child Psychiatry, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
7Arctic Health, Faculty of Medicine and Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Exeley, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-06-20


Background: Difficulties in facial emotion recognition (ER) skills are linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in studies performed in Western and Eastern Asian countries. However, there is a paucity of research examining ER skills in Arab countries, where face-covering veils are more common than in Western countries.

Objective: Our aim was to examine basic ER and ER error patterns in Egyptian and Finnish children with and without ASD.

Method: We employed the eye-submodule of the Frankfurt Test and Training of Facial Affect Recognition (FEFA) and the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ).

Results: Arab children with ASD (n = 34, M age = 8.6 years, FSIQ = 96.7) recognized correctly fewer emotions than did Scandinavian children with ASD (n = 32, M age = 12.5 years, FSIQ = 102.8) and Arab typically developing (TD) children (n = 34, M age = 10.3 years, FSIQ = 123.4) in general and specifically on surprise, disgust and neutral scales as well as on a blended emotion scale. Scandinavian children with ASD demonstrated a lower ability to recognize emotions in general and specifically happiness than did Scandinavian TD children. There were no differences between Arab and Scandinavian (n = 28, M age = 13.9 years) TD children in ER accuracy. We found country specific differences in ER error patterns in happiness, sadness and anger: Arab children interpreted these emotions more often as another emotion (happiness = sadness, sadness = anger, anger = sadness and surprise), whereas Scandinavian children interpreted happiness and sadness as neutral expression and anger as disgust. Arab children with ASD labeled sadness and anger in their ER error patterns more negatively than did Arab TD children, but there were no differences between Scandinavian children with ASD and TD in ER error patterns.

Conclusions: The differences between the Arab and Scandinavian children may reflect cultural differences in ER and ER error patterns.

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Series: Scandinavian journal of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology
ISSN: 2245-8875
ISSN-E: 2245-8875
ISSN-L: 2245-8875
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Pages: 159 - 169
DOI: 10.21307/sjcapp-2018-015
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: This study received financial support from the Alma and K. A. Snellman Foundation, Oulu, Finland; the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Finland; the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, Finland and Thule Institute, Univers ity of Oulu, Finland. Sven Bölte was supported by the Swedish Research Council (523 2009 7054).
Copyright information: © 2018. License : (CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0)