Research


How do we make sense of others' expressions of emotion? Why are some of us better at it than others? Why do people with Autism Spectrum Conditions often face difficulties in recognising and responding appropriately to others' emotions? These are some of the questions that we are interested in. We use multiple experimental techniques to address these questions.


Empathy and Emotion

Empathy is the lens through which we view emotions in others. The highly empathic can sense others' emotions automatically, and respond appropriately to them. On the other hand, many people (including a majority of individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions) often experience difficulties in picking up socio-emotional cues from others, and responding to them. Our approach treats empathy as a continuum across the whole population, and targets questions such as :

a) How does empathy influence the perception of emotions in others and in ourselves?

b) What are the factors that govern how much we will empathise with another person?


Autism

Autism Spectrum Conditions represent a cluster of symptoms  often marked by difficulties in reading and responding appropriately to social and emotional cues from others. An emerging approach to study ASC treats the spectrum as an extreme end of a set of continuously distributed dimensions, rather than treating it as one fixed category. Our research probes the functional and structural neuroanatomy of the dimensions related to social-emotional behaviour.