Face processing in children with ASD: Literature review

G. Campatelli, R. R. Federico, F. Apicella, F. Sicca, F. Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Face processing has been studied and discussed in depth during previous decades in several branches of science, and evidence from research supports the view that this process is a highly specialized brain function. Several authors argue that difficulties in the use and comprehension of the information conveyed by human faces could represent a core deficit in autism. Neuroimaging and ERP studies show that the brains of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) fail to activate and coordinate the activation of the cortical regions that are specialized in face processing. However, the mechanisms for the occurrence of this impairment remain poorly understood. ERP studies that investigate brain activity in ASD individuals during face processing have yielded mixed results. This review reports several debates in the literature regarding the interpretation of recorded neural components, their correlation with ASD, the possible organization of neural networks, the strategies of encoding structural and emotional stimuli, and the future goals of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-454
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Autism
  • ERPs
  • Face processing
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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