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Autism Research








Self‐conscious emotions (e.g., guilt, shame, and pride) are complex emotions that require self‐reflection and self‐evaluation, and are thought to facilitate the maintenance of societal norms and personal standards. Despite the importance of self‐conscious emotions, most research has focused on basic emotion processing in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Therefore, in the present study, we used the Test of Self‐Conscious Affect for Children (TOSCA‐C) to assess proneness to, or propensity to experience, the self‐conscious emotions guilt, shame, and pride in children with ASD and neurotypical children. The TOSCA‐C is designed to capture a child's natural tendency to experience a given emotion across a range of everyday situations [Tangney, Stuewig, & Mashek, 2007]. We also assessed how individual characteristics contribute to the development of proneness to self‐conscious emotions, including theory of mind (ToM) and ASD symptomatology. In comparison to neurotypical children, children with ASD showed less proneness to guilt, although all children showed relatively high levels of proneness to guilt. Greater ToM ability was related to more proneness to guilt and authentic pride in children with ASD. Additionally, we found that children with ASD with more severe symptomatology were more prone to hubristic pride. Our results provide evidence of differences in proneness to self‐conscious emotions in children with ASD, as well as highlight important mechanisms contributing to how children with ASD may experience self‐conscious emotions.


Author Posting. © International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 2018. This article is posted here by permission of International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Autism Research, 2018,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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