Research findings debate about features of broad autism phenotype. In this study, we tested whether parents of children with autism have problems recognizing emotional facial expression and the contribution of such an impairment to the broad phenotype of autism.
Seventy-two parents of children with autistic spectrum disorder and 38 parents of control group participated in the study. Broad autism features was measured with Autism Quotient (AQ). Recognition of Emotional Face Expression Test was assessed with the Emotion Recognition Test, consisting a set of photographs from Ekman & Friesen’s.
In a two-tailed analysis of variance of AQ, there was a significant difference for social skills (F(1, 106) = 6.095; p < .05). Analyses of variance revealed significant difference in the recognition of happy, surprised and neutral expressions (F(1, 106) = 4.068, p = .046; F(1, 106) = 4.068, p = .046; F(1, 106) = 6.064, p = .016).
According to our findings, social impairment could be considered a characteristic feature of BAP. ASD parents had difficulty recognizing neutral expressions, suggesting that ASD parents may have impaired recognition of ambiguous expressions as do autistic children.