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Cognitive functioning has historically been used to predict adaptive outcomes of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs); however, research shows that it is not a complete predictor. The current study explored whether emotion perception was a predictor of adaptive outcomes, and more specifically, hypothesized that emotion perception (DANVA-2 error scores) would mediate adaptive functioning of people with ASDs (Vineland-II). People with ASDs demonstrated significantly lower adaptive functioning and emotion perception skills compared to typically-developing individuals. Emotion perception acted as a significant mediator for socialization, but not communication or daily living skills, highlighting that in people with ASDs, lower socialization abilities is the result, in part, of emotion perception deficits. It was unexpected that emotion perception was not a mediator for communication skills. This may be related to sample restrictions, or the narrow focus on emotion perception. Future research should involve a larger, more inclusive ASD sample, broaden approaches to exploring relationships between social perception and adaptive outcomes, and relate findings to brain mechanisms underlying emotion perception.


This article was originally published in the journal Autism. Copyright © 2013 The National Autistic Society, Sage Publications.

The post-peer-reviewed version is available here with the permission of the author.

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