Face Recognition Processing Study

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to test the applications of computer vision and human robotic interactions in autistic individuals and determine how well they perform using the image types consisting of normal, thermal and vasculature images of real human faces. Many individuals with autism have difficulty identifying faces. The labs of Dr. Manuel F. Casanova and Dr. Aly Farag are collaborating on an IRB approved project involving face recognition perception in autism. The purpose of the study is to investigate how autistic individuals perform at a face recognition matching task involving visible images, thermal images and vasculature images of human faces with neutral face expression. Based on available literature, we hypothesize that autistic individuals will have difficulty in accurately matching visible images, but will perform better than chance in matching thermal images and vasculature images of human faces.

What does participation in this study mean?

Participation in this study will help us to understand how autistic individuals perform at face recognition processing while performing a matching task using three different modalities (visible, thermal and vasculature images) and will provide a direction for further investigation.

Who is eligible for participation in this study?

We are recruiting 20 autistic individuals and 20 matched control subjects between the ages of 5 and 30 to participate in this study. Subjects will be asked to play a matching game on a computer in which they will look at a face displayed at the top of the screen and select the closest match to that face among four face choices displayed at the bottom of the screen. There are 3 categories of images (visible, thermal and vasculature) and 20 trials for each category. Subjects must be able to navigate a computer mouse on their own in order to participate in this study.

What is the time commitment for participation in the study?

The time commitment for each study participant to complete the face matching game is approximately fifteen minutes to one-hour.

What are the potential benefits for participating in the study?

There are no direct benefits to those who participate in this study, however, the data we obtain from this study will help us to better understand how autistic individuals perceive human faces using visible, thermal and vasculature images and will allow us to investigate alternative methods for helping autistic individuals improve face recognition processing.

Will participants be compensated for their time or expenses?


What risks are involved in participating in the study?

There are no known risks involved in this study, however, the participant may feel uncomfortable or become frustrated throughout the matching tasks.

What safeguards are in place to minimize any risks?

Participants are told that they have a full hour to complete the matching, so that they do not feel rushed. They are also assured that we expect some images to be more difficult to match than others and that it is okay if they are unable to confidently identify a match. Participants have the option to discontinue their participation at anytime should they feel that they are unable to continue with the tasks that are asked of them.

Who should I contact if I'm interested in participating?

Brynn Dombroski, M.S.
Department of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
(502) 852-4589

What is the duration of the study?

We anticipate that this study will take approximately 60 days to recruit 40 subjects (20 ASD; 20 controls), administer the matching game and analyze the data for publication. If the results of this study are significant, a follow-up study will soon follow.