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Selected Publications

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  • Tanaka, J.W, Meixner, T. & Kantner, J. (in press). Exploring the perceptual spaces of faces, cars and birds in children and adults, Developmental Science.

    This paper describes a recent study where we investigated the perceptions of atypical and typical faces in young children and adults using a morphing paradigm. When a typical and an atypical face are morphed, participants tend to see the morph as bearing a stronger resemblance to the atypical parent face than the typical parent face.

  • Tanaka, J.W., Wolf, J. M., Klaiman, C., Koenig, K., Cockburn, J., Herlihy, L., Brown, C., Stahl, S., Kaiser, M.D., and Schultz, R.T. (2010). Using computerized games to teach face recognition skills to children with autism spectrum disorder: The Let's Face It! program, Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 51, 944-952. PDF

    This paper describes a randomized clinical trial where playing 20 hours of the Let's Face It! program was sufficient to improve a child's holistic face processing abilites relative to the children in the control group.

  • Wolf., J.M., Tanaka, J.W., Klaiman, C., Cockburn, J. Herlihy, L., Brown, C., South, M., McPartland, J., Kaiser, M. D., Phillips, R. and Schultz, R. T. (2008). Specific impairment of face processing abilities in children with autism spectrum disorder using the Let's Face It! Skills Battery, Autism Research. PDF

    This article describes a study that tested the face rand object recognition skills of children with autism using the Let's Face It! Skills Battery. Not unexpectedly, children with ASD do not do as well on some face-related tasks compared to control participants. Remarkably, there are other areas where the children with ASD actually perform as well or even better than their non-ASD counterparts.

  • Cockburn, J., Bartlett, M., Tanaka, J., Movellan, J., Pierce, M. & Schultz, R. (2008). SmileMaze: A tutoring system in real-time facial expression perception and production in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Proceedings from the IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face & Gesture Recognition, 978-986. PDF

    In this paper, Jeff Cockburn describes an exciting new game, 'Smile Maze' that teaches children how to recognize and produce facial expressions via a web cam. The program uses state-of-the-art computer techniques in expression recognition developed by the Machine Perception Lab at UC San Diego.

  • Tanaka, J., Lincoln, S., & Hegg, L. (2003). A framework for the study and treatment of face processing deficits in autism. In H. Leder and G. Swartzer (Eds.) The Development of Face Processing, 101-119, Berlin: Hogrefe Publishers. PDF

    Here, we describe the theoretical rationale behind our Let's Face It! training program drawing on research in the autism field.

  • Joseph, R. & Tanaka, J. (2002). Holistic and part-based recognition in children with autism. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 43, 1 -14. PDF

    In this paper, we test whether children with autism recognize faces similar to typically developing children. Our results indicate that children with autism tend to focus on the individual details of a face (the separates parts of the eyes, nose and mouth) in contrast to typically developing children who see the whole face.