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  • 1.
    Silva, C.
    et al.
    Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Cis-IUL, Av. das Forças Armadas, Lisboa, Portugal.
    Da Fonseca, D.
    Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT) UMR 7289, Aix Marseille Université - CNRS, Faculté de Médecine, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, Marseille, France.
    Esteves, Francisco
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Cis-IUL, Av. das Forças Armadas, Lisboa, Portugal .
    Deruelle, C.
    Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone (INT) UMR 7289, Aix Marseille Université - CNRS, Faculté de Médecine, 27 Bd Jean Moulin, Marseille, France.
    Motivational approach and avoidance in autism spectrum disorder: A comparison between real photographs and cartoons2015In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ISSN 1750-9467, E-ISSN 1878-0237, Vol. 17, p. 13-24Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show a lack of motivation to engage in spontaneous social encounters with other human beings. However, the basis for these diminished approach-related social behaviours is still unclear. This study investigated social motivation in ASD using an approach-avoidance task. In particular, we presented a group of ASD and a group of neurotypical adolescents with a series of emotionally positive, negative, and neutral visual stimuli, comprised of real photographs and cartoons - a stimulus with incentive salience for individuals with ASD. Participants were asked to either push or pull a joystick in response to an emotionally independent feature of the stimuli (colour frame). Following the main task, participants also rated the stimuli for affective valence and arousal. Results showed a dissociation in motivational responses towards positive stimuli for the ASD group only: faster avoidance from positive real photographs, but greater approach to positive cartoons, while no differences were found between emotionally negative or neutral stimuli. By contrast, no differences between the groups were found for the self-reported affective ratings. In light of the social motivation hypothesis, these atypical motivational responses suggest a deficit in assigning reward to socio-emotional stimuli in adolescents with ASD. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • 2.
    Silva, Catarina
    et al.
    Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Lisboa, Portugal.
    Da Fonseca, David
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – Aix-Marseille Université, France; Hôpital Salvator, Marseille, France.
    Esteves, Francisco
    Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology. Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Lisboa, Portugal.
    Deruelle, Christine
    Aix-Marseille Université, France.
    Seeing the funny side of things: Humour processing in Autism Spectrum Disorders2017In: Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ISSN 1750-9467, E-ISSN 1878-0237, Vol. 43-44, p. 8-17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background Humour is fundamentally a social phenomenon, occurring frequently in social and playful contexts. The positive affect resulting from an experience of enjoyed humour makes it socially rewarding. A lack of sense of humour has been associated with individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), however, the existing literature is sparse and inconclusive. In this study, we investigated implicit and explicit humour understanding and appreciation in ASD. Method Specifically, an implicit item-item associative task was used, in which participants saw neutral-humorous and neutral-neutral sequences of two pictures in an encoding phase. Following a filler task, sequence recognition was measured in a yes/no test phase. At the end of the task, explicit measures of humour understanding and appreciation were completed by the participants, who rated the picture sequences for humour appreciation and funniness. Results Results revealed that, at an explicit level, participants with ASD were able to enjoy and understand the humorous stimuli as much as typically developing (TD) participants. At an implicit level, however, the results suggest that humour processing may be specially content-dependent in ASD. Fine-grained analysis on task performance indeed showed an altered humorous processing for social, but not for non-social humorous content in the ASD group, while that was not the case for the TD group. Conclusions These results suggest that participants with ASD may be distinctively motivated to attend to social reward cues such as social humorous stimuli. These findings are discussed within the social motivation hypothesis framework.

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