Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of context and affective prosody on emotional perception in children with high-functioning autism (HFA). Methods: Fifteen HFA children and 15 normal children who were matched on chronological age (range, 9 to 12 years) participated in the present study. The experiment was consisted of two different tasks, affective prosody perceptibility task and the extent of dependence on affective prosody task. Two way-mixed ANOVA was used to analyze the data. Results: The results were as follows: 1) For the perceptibility of affective prosody, there was no significant main effect between the groups and emotion types when prosody was given only. 2) For the perceptibility of affective prosody, there was no significant main effect between the groups and contexts when prosody and contexts were given at the same time. 3) For the extent of dependence on affective prosody, there was significant main effect between the groups. HFA children showed significantly lower extent of dependence on affective prosody than normal children. There was also significant main effect between contexts. The extent of dependence on affective prosody showed significantly higher in facial expression than in lexical content and situation picture. Conclusion: These results imply that HFA children were as capable as normal children in affective prosody perceptibility. However, HFA children were less dependent on affective prosody to infer the speaker's emotion than normal children when the emotion in various contexts (lexical contents, facial expressions, and situation pictures) conflicts with affective prosody.
- Affective prosody
- Emotional perception
- High-functioning autistic children