Project

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Emotion Reactivity and Regulation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

English title Emotion Reactivity and Regulation in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Applicant Samson Andrea
Number 136380
Funding scheme Fellowships for advanced researchers
Research institution NCCR Affective Sciences Campus Biotech CISA - University of Geneva
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2011 - 31.08.2015
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Keywords (5)

autism spectrum disorders; emotion ; emotion regulation ; psychophysiology; neural correlates (fMRI)

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

The broad, long-term objective of the proposed project is to understand the role of emotion reactivity and regulation in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Emotions play a key role in healthy adaptation, and disordered patterns of emotion reactivity and regulation are evident in many psychopathologies. Traditionally, ASD has been defined by impairments in the domains of sensory sensitivities, social communication deficits, repetitive behavior, and language difficulties. Difficulties with emotion reactivity and regulation have not been part of traditional definitions of ASD. However, clinical accounts indicate that individuals with ASD have severe impairments in emotion reactivity and regulation, such as increased levels of negative emotions, disinhibition, impulsivity, aggression, and temper outburstssmall but growing body of literature that has documented irregularities in emotion processing and significant impairments in emotion regulation in children with ASD.. These clinical reports have now generated a These disturbances are frequently problematic and interfere considerably with treatment implementation, academic achievement and quality of life. Whereas the literature is developing regarding emotion reactivity, limited progress has been made identifying emotion regulation in ASD from adolescence to adulthood, and no systematic research has linked emotion reactivity and regulation to symptom severity in the core-features of cognition, repetitive behavior and language skills.  social , ensory processings

To achieve this goal, bring the latest methods of affective science to the field of autism in a translational research approach. For the first time, this study aims to systematically assess emotion reactivity and regulation in adolescents and adults with ASD. A multi-method approach will be applied to assess experiential, behavioral, psychophysiological and neuronal indicators of ERR in daily life and in the laboratory in adolescent and adult ASD vs. individuals. typically developing (TD) With such diverse methods it is possible to assess multiple components of the emotional response that play out in different time scales, which makes it possible to gain deep insight into the emotional world of individuals with ASD. I expect to find in each part of the study comparable reactivity in single emotions in individuals with ASD and TD individuals, but crucial differences in more complex (mixed) emotions and emotion regulation. For example, individuals with ASD are expected to use fewer adaptive emotion regulation strategies than TD individuals. It is expected that symptom severity in the core-features of ASD will be related to emotion reactivity and regulation. 

The proposed research will help to better understand the psychopathology of ASD by systematically examining multiple indices of emotion reactivity and regulation with extensive and well-validated methods from the affective sciences, and by carefully taking differences in symptom type and severity into account. The results will provide a robust foundation for investigating the developmental components of emotion reactivity and regulation in a longitudinal design, and examining candidate prognostic factors of adaptive emotion regulation. Furthermore, it will have implications for innovative treatment methods aiming to improve adaptive emotional behavior and thus reduce symptom severity and psychological strain in individuals with ASD. In addition to shedding new light on ASD, this research is significant because it will expand the knowledge about fundamental aspects of emotion reactivity and regulation in general.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
White matter structure in the uncinate fasciculus: Implications for socio-affective deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Samson A.C., Dougherty R. F., Lee I. A., Phillips J. P., Gross J. J., Hardan A. Y. (2016), White matter structure in the uncinate fasciculus: Implications for socio-affective deficits in Autism Spectrum Disorder, in PsychiatryResearch:Neuroimaging, 255, 66-74.
The quartet theory: Implications for autism spectrum disorder
Pehrs Corinna, Samson Andrea C., Gross James J. (2015), The quartet theory: Implications for autism spectrum disorder, in Physics of Life Reviews, 13, 77-79.
Emotion dysregulation and the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Samson A. C. Phillips J. M. Parker K. J. Shah S. Gross J. J. & Hardan A. Y. (2014), Emotion dysregulation and the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder, in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, x.
Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Samson A. C., Hardan A. Y., Podell R. W., Phillips J. M., Gross J. J. (2014), Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder, in Autism Research, x.
In (visual) search for a new distraction: The efficiency of a novel attentional deployment versus semantic meaning regulation strategies
Sheppes G., Brady W. J., Samson A. C. (2014), In (visual) search for a new distraction: The efficiency of a novel attentional deployment versus semantic meaning regulation strategies, in Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 346.
Convergent Findings of Altered Functional and Structural Brain Connectivity in Individuals with High Functioning Autism: A Multimodal MRI Study
Mueller Sophia, Keeser Daniel, Samson Andrea C., Kirsch Valerie, Blautzik Janusch, Grothe Michel, Erat Okan, Hegenloh Michael, Coates Ute, Reiser Maximilian F., Hennig-Fast Kristina, Meindl Thomas (2013), Convergent Findings of Altered Functional and Structural Brain Connectivity in Individuals with High Functioning Autism: A Multimodal MRI Study, in PLOS ONE, 8(6), 67329.
Emotion dysregulation in childhood
Schipper Marc, Kullik Angelika, Samson Andrea C., Koglin Ute, Petermann Franz (2013), Emotion dysregulation in childhood, in PSYCHOLOGISCHE RUNDSCHAU, 64(4), 228-234.
Emotionsdysregulation im Kindes- und Jugendalter
Schipper M. Kullik A. Samson A. C. Koglin U. & Petermann F. (2013), Emotionsdysregulation im Kindes- und Jugendalter, in Psychologische Rundschau, 64(4), 228-234.
From Ice Age to Madagascar: Appreciation of slapstick humor in children with Asperger's syndrome
Weiss Elisabeth M., Gschaidbauer Bianca C., Samson Andrea C., Steinbaecker Krista, Fink Andreas, Papousek Ilona (2013), From Ice Age to Madagascar: Appreciation of slapstick humor in children with Asperger's syndrome, in HUMOR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMOR RESEARCH, 26(3), 423-440.
Frontal brain asymmetry and transient cardiovascular responses to the perception of humor
Papousek Ilona, Schulter Guenter, Weiss Elisabeth M., Samson Andrea C., Freudenthaler H. Harald, Lackner Helmut K. (2013), Frontal brain asymmetry and transient cardiovascular responses to the perception of humor, in BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 93(1), 114-121.
Humor as character strength and its relation to life satisfaction and happiness in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Samson Andrea C., Antonelli Yovanni (2013), Humor as character strength and its relation to life satisfaction and happiness in Autism Spectrum Disorders, in HUMOR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMOR RESEARCH, 26(3), 477-491.
Humor(lessness) elucidated - sense of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Review and introduction.
Samson A. C. (2013), Humor(lessness) elucidated - sense of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Review and introduction., in Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 26(3), 393-409.
I got it! Transient cardiovascular response to the perception of humor
Lackner Helmut K., Weiss Elisabeth M., Schulter Guenter, Hinghofer-Szalkay Helmut, Samson Andrea C., Papousek Ilona (2013), I got it! Transient cardiovascular response to the perception of humor, in BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 93(1), 33-40.
Seven decades after Hans Asperger's observations: A comprehensive study of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Samson Andrea C., Huber Oswald, Ruch Willibald (2013), Seven decades after Hans Asperger's observations: A comprehensive study of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, in HUMOR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMOR RESEARCH, 26(3), 441-460.
State-dependent changes of prefrontal-posterior coupling in the context of affective processing: Susceptibility to humor
Papousek Ilona, Reiser Eva M., Weiss Elisabeth M., Fink Andreas, Samson Andrea C., Lackner Helmut K., Schulter Guenter (2013), State-dependent changes of prefrontal-posterior coupling in the context of affective processing: Susceptibility to humor, in COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE, 13(2), 252-261.
Perception of other people's mental states affects humor in social anxiety
Samson Andrea C., Lackner Helmut Karl, Weiss Elisabeth M., Papousek Ilona (2012), Perception of other people's mental states affects humor in social anxiety, in JOURNAL OF BEHAVIOR THERAPY AND EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHIATRY, 43(1), 625-631.
The influence of empathizing and systemizing on humor processing: Theory of Mind and humor
Samson Andrea C. (2012), The influence of empathizing and systemizing on humor processing: Theory of Mind and humor, in HUMOR-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMOR RESEARCH, 25(1), 75-98.
THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF MIXED EMOTIONS
Kreibig Sylvia D., Samson Andrea C., Gross James J. (2012), THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF MIXED EMOTIONS, in PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY, 49, 40-40.
Emotion Regulation in Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism
Samson A.C., Huber O., Gross J.J., Emotion Regulation in Asperger's Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, in Emotion.
Emotion regulation in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from parent interviews and children’s daily diaries
Samson A. C., Wells W. M., Phillips J. M., Hardan A. Y., Gross J. J., Emotion regulation in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from parent interviews and children’s daily diaries, in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Humor as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humour
Samson A.C., Gross J.J., Humor as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humour, in Cognition & Emotion, 26(2), 375-384.
Maladaptive behaviour in autism spectrum disorder: The role of emotion experience and emotion regulation.
Samson A. C., Hardan A. Y., Lee I. A., Phillips J. M., Gross J. J., Maladaptive behaviour in autism spectrum disorder: The role of emotion experience and emotion regulation., in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
The dark and light sides of humor: an emotion regulation perspective
Samson A.C., Gross J.J., The dark and light sides of humor: an emotion regulation perspective, in J. Gruber & J. Moskowitz (ed.), xx, xx.
The Psychophysiology of Mixed Emotional States: Internal and External Replicability Analysis of a Direct Replication Study
Kreibig S. D., Samson A. C., Gross J. J., The Psychophysiology of Mixed Emotional States: Internal and External Replicability Analysis of a Direct Replication Study, in Psychophysiology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Freie Universitaet Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
LMU München Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Universität Graz Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Stanford University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Invited Talk at the Lunch Time Seminar, Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg Individual talk Emotion reactivity and regulation in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 22.10.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Samson Andrea;
Invited Talk at the CISA workshop on Affective Disorders Talk given at a conference Emotion reactivity and regulation in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder 29.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Samson Andrea;
BBL/CIBM Research day Poster Structural connectivity between orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala: Implications for socio-emotional skills in autism spectrum disorder. 28.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Samson Andrea;
The 14th congress of the Swiss Psychological Society (SSP/SGP) Poster Connectivity Between Prefrontal Cortex and Amygdala and Its Association with Socio-Emotional Skills in Autism Spectrum Disorder 08.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Samson Andrea;
4th NCCR Synopsy Symposium on Autism Poster Structural connectivity between orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala: Implications for socio-emotional skills in autism spectrum disorder 26.06.2015 Geneva Switzerland, Switzerland Samson Andrea;
International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Poster Maladaptive behavior in autism spectrum disorder: The role of emotion experience and emotion regulation 13.05.2015 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Poster Structural connectivity between orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala and its association with socio-emotional skills in autism spectrum disorder 13.05.2015 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Society for Affective Sciences (SAS) Annual Meeting Poster Maladaptive behaviour in autism spectrum disorder: The role of emotion experience and emotion regulation. 09.04.2015 Oakland, CA, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Poster Emotion dysregulation in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder 14.05.2014 Atlanta, GA, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Sociaty for Affective Sciences (SAS) Annual Meeting Poster Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder 24.04.2014 Bethesda, ML, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Bay Area Autism Consortium (BAAC) Meeting Poster Emotion Regulation in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder 11.04.2014 Red Wood City, CA, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Poster The association of emotion dysregulation to the core features of the autism spectrum disorder 05.05.2013 San Sebastian, Spain Samson Andrea;
Bay Area Autism Consortium (BAAC) Meeting Poster Emotion Regulation in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder 05.04.2013 Lucile Packard Children Hospital, Palo Alto, CA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Bay Area Autism Consortium (BAAC) Meeting Poster Emotion regulation in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome and High Functioning Autism 13.03.2013 San Francisco, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Bio-X IIP Symposium poster session Poster Emotion regulation in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders 27.08.2012 Stanford University, CA, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Invited Talk: Autism Working Group Individual talk Emotional Disturbances in Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Case of Humor and Emotion Regulation. 05.04.2012 Stanford, United States of America Samson Andrea;
Invited Talk: Colloquia at the Institute of Personality and Social Research (IPSR). Individual talk Humor(lessness) elucidated: Sense of humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders 07.03.2012 University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, United States of America Samson Andrea;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Symposium presentation in A. C Samson and A. Y. Hardan (Chairs), Conference of the International Society for Research on Emotions (ISRE) 07.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) What about Humor in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder? The people's science International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Stanford researchers investigate the emotional side of autism Stanford News International 2012

Awards

Title Year
Travel Award International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Atlanta, USA 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
154937 Emotion Dysregulation in Psychopathology: Pathway to an Innovative Neuroconnectivity-Informed Intervention 01.09.2015 Ambizione

Abstract

The broad, long-term objective of the proposed project is to understand the role of emotion reactivity and regulation in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Emotions play a key role in healthy adaptation, and disordered patterns of emotion reactivity and regulation are evident in many psychopathologies (Campbell-Sills & Barlow, 2007; Gross, 1998). Traditionally, ASD has been defined by impairments in the domains of sensation (hyper- and hyposensitivities to pain, visual, auditory information), social cognition (lack of perspective taking abilities), behavior (hand flapping, body rocking), and language (comprehension difficulties, late onset) (Happé, Ronald, & Plomin, 2006). Difficulties with emotion reactivity and regulation have not been part of traditional definitions of ASD. However, clinical accounts indicate that individuals with ASD have severe impairments in emotion reactivity and regulation (e.g., Geller, 2005). These clinical reports have now generated a small but growing body of literature that has documented irregularities in emotion processing and significant impairments in emotion regulation in children with ASD (Konstantareas & Stewart, 2006; Laurent & Rubin, 2004). Whereas the literature is developing regarding emotion reactivity, limited progress has been made identifying emotion regulation in ASD from adolescence to adulthood, and no systematic research has linked emotion reactivity and regulation to symptom severity in the core-features of sensory processing, social cognition, repetitive behavior and language skills. For the first time, this study aims to systematically assess emotion reactivity and regulation in adolescents and adults with ASD. To achieve this goal, I propose to draw upon the latest methods of affective science, and use a multi-method approach to examine emotion reactivity and regulation in adolescent and adult ASD vs. typically developing (TD) individuals. As an emotional response consists of several components such as subjective experience, emotional expression, psychophysiological and neural correlates, I propose a project in three parts, focusing on (1) behavioral, self-report, and peer/parent-report, (2) behavioral, experiential, autonomic, and (3) behavioral and neural measures of emotion reactivity and regulation. With such diverse methods it is possible to assess multiple components of the emotional response that play out in different time scales, which makes it possible to gain deep insight into the emotional world of individuals with ASD. I expect to find in each part of the study comparable reactivity in single emotions in individuals with ASD and TD individuals, but crucial differences in more complex (mixed) emotions and emotion regulation. For example, individuals with ASD are expected to use fewer adaptive emotion regulation strategies than TD individuals. It is expected that symptom severity in the core-features of ASD will be related to emotion reactivity and regulation. The proposed research will help to better understand the psychopathology of ASD by systematically examining multiple indices of emotion reactivity and regulation with extensive and well-validated methods from the affective sciences, and by carefully taking differences in symptom type and severity into account. The results will provide a robust foundation for investigating the developmental components of emotion reactivity and regulation in a longitudinal design, and examining candidate prognostic factors of adaptive emotion regulation. Furthermore, it will have implications for innovative treatment methods aiming to improve adaptive emotional behavior and thus reduce symptom severity and psychological strain in individuals with ASD. In addition to shedding new light on ASD, this research is significant because it will expand the knowledge about fundamental aspects of emotion reactivity and regulation in general.
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