Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Dr. Peter Mundy - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jeffrey Brosco - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Dr. Heather Henderson - Committee Member


Face processing deficits appear early in autism and greatly impact subsequent development. In this paper, the N170 component, an event-related brain potential sensitive to face processing, is examined in children with autism and typical development. The N170 amplitude was sensitive to group differences, as children with typical development showed greater differentiation to upright vs. inverted stimuli and faces vs. vehicles than children with autism. The N170 was also delayed in children with autism. The N170 was not a sensitive marker of individual differences in social behavior and autistic symptomology, but the proceeding positive peak, the P1, was a sensitive marker of individual differences in children with typical development. Results suggest that children with autism and children with typical development employ different face processing strategies, even for the basic encoding of a face.


P1; N170; Autism; Face Processing