Recently a study was published where three researchers (Dr Suzanne Macar, Dr Angelina Vernetti and Dr Katarzyna Chawarska) at Yale did an experiment where they aimed to scare both autistic and neurotypical children, trying to establish a link between distress and autism in early childhood, while suggesting it may impact ‘emerging affective and behavioural symptoms.’
The study is problematic for several reasons, but the most problematic issues included.
- Parents were instructed to remain neutral and not interact with their child throughout the experiment.
- They were actually aiming to ‘elicit fear with novel and threatening stimuli’!
- A stranger was wearing scary masks and a fearful mechanical spider to scare the children.
Yet this study was still approved by the Yale Institutional Review Board. For more details on the problems associated with this study, I recommend reading Ann’s Twitter thread below.
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