Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

F. Richard Ferraro


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by social deficits in emotional comprehension. Research has demonstrated that for the neurotypical population, recognizing, and reacting to facial emotions improve when using the left visual field by employing the right brain hemisphere's configural processes. Behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging findings suggest an opposite pattern within the autistic population - left hemisphere activation contributing to a right visual field preference for analyzing and assessing facial affect. The present study attempted to activate and strengthen the right hemispheric neural pathway responsible for emotion recognition using modified eyewear to contrive left visual field stimulation during an empirically supported emotion recognition intervention designed for the ASD population, The Transporters DVD series. A multiple baseline design across four male participants (Mean Age = 9.23) with similar verbal and autistic levels was used to investigate improvements in emotion recognition over the course of a 6-week intervention with the four participants viewing The Transporters for 3 weekly 30-minute sessions while wearing the modified eyewear for 0, 2, 4, and 6 weeks, respectively. Pre- and post-intervention tasks assessing emotion vocabulary and situation-expression matching corroborated the previously reported efficacy for The Transporters and provided evidence of greater gains for participants who viewed the intervention with the modified eyewear. Improvement in performance on emotion recognition tasks administered during each session supported an effect of lateralized left visual field stimulation via modified eyewear. However, an additive effect was not clearly defined. Clinical implications may include using lateralization eyewear with other social-emotional interventions to enhance social skills in children with ASD.