Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 108–121

Visual Fixation Patterns during Reciprocal Social Interaction Distinguish a Subgroup of 6-Month-Old Infants At-Risk for Autism from Comparison Infants

Authors

  • Noah Merin
    • Neuroscience Graduate Group and School of Medicine, Class 2008University of California
  • Gregory S. Young
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of California
  • Sally Ozonoff
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of California
    • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of California
    • M.I.N.D. InstituteUniversity of CA, Davis Medical Center
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0342-4

Cite this article as:
Merin, N., Young, G.S., Ozonoff, S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2007) 37: 108. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0342-4

Abstract

Thirty-one infant siblings of children with autism and 24 comparison infants were tested at 6 months of age during social interaction with a caregiver, using a modified Still Face paradigm conducted via a closed-circuit TV-video system. In the Still Face paradigm, the mother interacts with the infant, then freezes and displays a neutral, expressionless face, then resumes interaction. Eye tracking data on infant visual fixation patterns were recorded during the three episodes of the experiment. Using a hierarchical cluster analysis, we identified a subgroup of infants demonstrating diminished gaze to the mother’s eyes relative to her mouth during the Still Face episode. Ten out of the 11 infants in this subgroup had an older sibling with autism.

Keywords

AutismSiblingsStill Face paradigmVisual fixation patternsEye–Mouth Index (EMI)Face perceptionHigh-risk infants

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006