Do Gaze Cues in Complex Scenes Capture and Direct the Attention of High Functioning Adolescents with ASD? Evidence from Eye-tracking
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Visual fixation patterns whilst viewing complex photographic scenes containing one person were studied in 24 high-functioning adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and 24 matched typically developing adolescents. Over two different scene presentation durations both groups spent a large, strikingly similar proportion of their viewing time fixating the person’s face. However, time-course analyses revealed differences between groups in priorities of attention to the region of the face containing the eyes. It was also noted that although individuals with ASD were rapidly cued by the gaze direction of the person in the scene, this was not followed by an immediate increase in total fixation duration at the location of gaze, which was the case for typically developing individuals.
KeywordsEye-tracking Autism Social scenes Gaze following Time-course analysis
This research would have been impossible without the kind cooperation of the staff, students, and parents involved in the studies. Participating schools included Aldercar Community Language College, Bigwood School, Bracken Hill, Bramcote Park and Enterprise School, Cruckton Hall, Foxwood, The Long Eaton School, Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn. This research was funded by a PhD studentship from the University of Nottingham, School of Psychology awarded to the first author and Economic and Social Research Council grant number PTA-026-27-2283.
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