This study aimed to evaluate the emotion recognition abilities of adults (n = 23) with an intellectual disability (ID) compared with a control group of children (n = 23) without ID matched for estimated cognitive ability. The study examined the impact of: task paradigm, stimulus type and preferred processing style (global/local) on accuracy. We found that, after controlling for estimated cognitive ability, the control group performed significantly better than the individuals with ID. This provides some support for the emotion specificity hypothesis. Having a more local processing style did not significantly mediate the relation between having ID and emotion recognition, but did significantly predict emotion recognition ability after controlling for group. This suggests that processing style is related to emotion recognition independently of having ID. The availability of contextual information improved emotion recognition for people with ID when compared with line drawing stimuli, and identifying a target emotion from a choice of two was relatively easier for individuals with ID, compared with the other task paradigms. The results of the study are considered in the context of current theories of emotion recognition deficits in individuals with ID.