Inference from facial expressions among adolescents and young adults with down syndrome

Karen J. Goldman*, Cory Shulman, Jacob A. Burack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The focus of this study was the ability of adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome to infer meaning from facial expressions in the absence of emotion labels and use this inference in order to adjust their behavior. Participants with Down syndrome (N ¼ 19, mean nonverbal mental age of 5.8 years) and 4- to 7-year-old typically developing children performed a novel task in which happy and angry faces were provided as feedback for a choice made by the participants. In making a subsequent choice, the participants with Down syndrome performed similarly to the 4 year olds, indicating a difficulty using angry faces as feedback. Individual differences within the group were also apparent. Implications for the development of social competence are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)344-358
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

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  • Down syndrome
  • Emotion
  • Facial expressions
  • Social cognition


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