- Cognitive flexibility in ASD: Task switching with emotional faces
- Journal of Autism and Development Disorders
- Volume | Issue number
- 42 | 12
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) show daily cognitive flexibility deficits, but laboratory data are unconvincing. The current study aimed to bridge this gap. Thirty-one children with ASD (8-12 years) and 31 age- and IQ-matched typically developing children performed a gender emotion switch task. Unannounced switches and complex stimuli (emotional faces) improved ecological validity; minimal working memory-load prevented bias in the findings. Overall performance did not differ between groups, but in a part of the ASD group performance was slow and inaccurate. Moreover, within the ASD group switching from emotion to gender trials was slower than vice versa. Children with ASD do not show difficulties on an ecological valid switch task, but have difficulty disengaging from an emotional task set.
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