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How an understudied trait has skewed autism studies for decades

Great to see work on alexithymia from Lydia Hickman and Connor Keating mentioned in this article in Spectrum.


New paper on “Differences Between Autistic and Non-Autistic Adults in the Recognition of Anger from Facial Motion Remain after Controlling for Alexithymia”

Congratulations to the team, especially first author Connor Keating, on their new paper: which was also mentioned in this article:

See here for a summary of the work:

Cook lab on (virtual) tour

This week we are (virtually) at the BNA Festival of Neuroscience, the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) April meeting and the Society for Affective Science (SAS) Conference. Find out more at ….

Connor Keating’s talk “It’s all in the mind: elucidating two interacting contributors to emotion recognition accuracy” @SAS 15th April

Lydia Hickman’s poster “Examining movement differences in autism spectrum disorder and Parkinson’s disease” (BNA, poster no. PP001093; EPS no. 27)

Alicia Rybicki’s EPS talk “Dopaminergic modulation of learning from social and individual sources” 13:45 15th April (here:

Sophie Sowden’s EPS poster “Effects of dopamine D2 receptor antagonist Haloperidol on movement speed in a drawing task” (no. 28)

Bianca Schuster’s poster “Effects of the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist Haloperidol on mentalizing performance in healthy adults” (BNA no. TP001214)

New paper about the role of kinematics in emotional facial expressions

Well done to Sophie, Bianca, Dagmar and Connor on their new paper! In a series of four (!) experiments they dissociate spatial and kinematic cues in the recognition of emotion from facial expressions, and demonstrate that speeding-up facial expressions promotes anger and happiness judgements whilst slowing-down expressions encourages sadness judgements. Thanks to Sophie for driving this project!

Sowden, S. L., Schuster, B. A., Fraser, D.S., Keating, C., & Cook, J. L. (in press). The role of movement kinematics in facial emotion expression production and recognition. Emotion. — data & stimuli — pdf

Heartbeat Counting and Heartbeat Discrimination meta-analysis

Congratulations to Lydia on the acceptance of her new meta-analysis on the relationship between Heartbeat Counting and Heartbeat Discrimination! The paper will be published in Biological Psychology soon but you can view the author version here:

Hickman, L., Seyedsalehi, A., Cook, J.L, Bird, G., Murphy, J. (in press). The relationship between Heartbeat Counting and Heartbeat Discrimination: a meta-analysis. Biological Psychology. pdf

U21 Researcher Resilience grant awarded to form an international autism research network

Congratulations to Sophie, Lydia, Connor and Bianca who have been awarded a U21 Researcher Resilience grant. This grant will fund work to bring together researchers and autistic individuals from around the world to form the U21 Autism Research Network. The Network will discuss issues around diversity and inclusion in autism research. Looking forward to seeing what happens with this exciting project!