Sasson, Noah J.

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Noah Sasson's research interests involve Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He is seeking to understand the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that contribute to social dysfunction in ASD. Dr. Sasson also serves as the head of the Development and Social Cognition Lab.

Learn more about Dr. Sasson from his BBS People, Expert at a Glance, and Research Explorer pages.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    First Impressions of Adults with Autism Improve with Diagnostic Disclosure and Increased Autism Knowledge of Peers
    (Sage Publications Ltd, 2017-10-17) Sasson, Noah J.; Morrison, Kerrianne E.; 81829133 (Sasson, NJ); Sasson, Noah J.; Morrison, Kerrianne E.
    A practical consideration for many intellectually able adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is whether to disclose their diagnostic status or try to mask their autistic characteristics to avoid judgment and discrimination. Here, we assessed first impressions of adults with ASD and typically developing controls (N = 40) made by typically developing observers (N = 215) when their diagnostic status was either withheld, accurately provided, or inaccurately provided. First impressions were less favorable for ASD participants compared to typically developing controls across a range of judgments, but were significantly more positive when accurately labeled as ASD compared to when no label was provided, when mislabeled as typically developing, or when mislabeled as having schizophrenia. For typically developing participants, ratings did not change when accurately labeled but improved when mislabeled as ASD. Greater autistic traits for the ASD and typically developing participants were associated with less favorable first impressions, and females were rated more favorably than males. Autism knowledge of the raters, but not age, IQ, or autistic traits, was positively associated with more favorable impressions of ASD participants. Collectively, these findings suggest that first impressions for intellectually able adults with ASD improve with diagnostic disclosure and increased autism understanding on the part of peers.
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    Outcomes of Real-World Social Interaction for Autistic Adults Paired with Autistic Compared to Typically Developing Partners
    (SAGE Publishing) Morrison, Kerrianne E.; DeBrabander, Kilee M.; Jones, Desiree R.; Faso, Daniel J.; Ackerman, Robert A.; Sasson, Noah J.; 0000-0002-2735-8809 (Morrison, KE); 0000-0001-6779-2477 (Jones, DR); Morrison, Kerrianne E.; DeBrabander, Kilee M.; Jones, Desiree R.; Ackerman, Robert A.; Sasson, Noah J.
    Differences in social communication and interaction styles between autistic and typically developing have been studied in isolation and not in the context of real-world social interaction. The current study addresses this “blind spot” by examining whether real-world social interaction quality for autistic adults differs when interacting with typically developing relative to autistic partners. Participants (67 autism spectrum disorder, 58 typically developing) were assigned to one of three dyadic partnerships (autism–autism: n = 22; typically developing–typically developing: n = 23; autism–typically developing: n = 25; 55 complete dyads, 15 partial dyads) in which they completed a 5-min unstructured conversation with an unfamiliar person and then assessed the quality of the interaction and their impressions of their partner. Although autistic adults were rated as more awkward, less attractive, and less socially warm than typically developing adults by both typically developing and autistic partners, only typically developing adults expressed greater interest in future interactions with typically developing relative to autistic partners. In contrast, autistic participants trended toward an interaction preference for other autistic adults and reported disclosing more about themselves to autistic compared to typically developing partners. These results suggest that social affiliation may increase for autistic adults when partnered with other autistic people, and support reframing social interaction difficulties in autism as a relational rather than an individual impairment.
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    Increased Reward Value of Non-Social Stimuli in Children and Adolescents with Autism
    (Frontiers Research Foundation) Watson, Karli K.; Miller, Stephanie; Hannah, Eleanor; Kovac, Megan; Damiano, Cara R.; Sabatino-DiCrisco, Antoinette; Turner-Brown, Lauren; Sasson, Noah J.; Platt, Michael L.; Dichter, Gabriel S.; nb2009010470 (Sasson, NJ); 81829133 (Sasson, NJ)
    An econometric choice task was used to estimate the implicit reward value of social and non-social stimuli related to restricted interests in children and adolescents with (n = 12) and without (n = 22) autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Mixed effects logistic regression analyses revealed that groups differed in valuation of images related to restricted interests: control children were indifferent to cash payouts to view these images, but children with ASD were willing to receive less cash payout to view these images. Groups did not differ in valuation of social images or non-social images not related to restricted interests. Results highlight that motivational accounts of ASD should also consider the reward value of non-social stimuli related to restricted interests in ASD (Dichter and Adolphs, 2012).;
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    Affective Responses by Adults with Autism Are Reduced to Social Images but Elevated to Images Related to Circumscribed Interests
    Sasson, Noah J.; Dichter, Gabriel S.; Bodfish, James W.
    Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) demonstrate increased visual attention and elevated brain reward circuitry responses to images related to circumscribed interests (CI), suggesting that a heightened affective response to CI may underlie their disproportionate salience and reward value in ASD. To determine if individuals with ASD differ from typically developing (TD) adults in their subjective emotional experience of CI object images, non-CI object images and social images, 213 TD adults and 56 adults with ASD provided arousal ratings (sensation of being energized varying along a dimension from calm to excited) and valence ratings (emotionality varying along dimension of approach to withdrawal) for a series of 114 images derived from previous research on CI. The groups did not differ on arousal ratings for any image type, but ASD adults provided higher valence ratings than TD adults for CI-related images, and lower valence ratings for social images. Even after co-varying the effects of sex, the ASD group, but not the TD group, gave higher valence ratings to CI images than social images. These findings provide additional evidence that ASD is characterized by a preference for certain categories of non-social objects and a reduced preference for social stimuli, and support the dissemination of this image set for examining aspects of the circumscribed interest phenotype in ASD. © 2012 Sasson et al.

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