Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 286–300 | Cite as

Getting a Grip on Social Gaze: Control over Others’ Gaze Helps Gaze Detection in High-Functioning Autism

  • Thomas Dratsch
  • Caroline Schwartz
  • Kliment Yanev
  • Leonhard Schilbach
  • Kai Vogeley
  • Gary Bente
Original Paper


We investigated the influence of control over a social stimulus on the ability to detect direct gaze in high-functioning autism (HFA). In a pilot study, 19 participants with and 19 without HFA were compared on a gaze detection and a gaze setting task. Participants with HFA were less accurate in detecting direct gaze in the detection task, but did not differ in their ability to establish direct gaze in the setting task. In the main experiment, the results of the pilot study were replicated with 37 participants with and 39 without HFA, suggesting that individuals with HFA have a specific deficit in the passive perception of social cues as opposed to the active control, which seems to be intact.


High-functioning autism Direct gaze Control Predictability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Dratsch
    • 1
  • Caroline Schwartz
    • 1
  • Kliment Yanev
    • 1
  • Leonhard Schilbach
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kai Vogeley
    • 2
    • 4
  • Gary Bente
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Hospital of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institute for Neurological ResearchCologneGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Neuroscience and MedicineCognitive Neuroscience INM3, Research Center JuelichJülichGermany

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