The Influences of Face Inversion and Facial Expression on Sensitivity to Eye Contact in High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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We examined the influences of face inversion and facial expression on sensitivity to eye contact in high-functioning adults with and without an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants judged the direction of gaze of angry, fearful, and neutral faces. In the typical group only, the range of directions of gaze leading to the perception of eye contact (the cone of gaze) was narrower for upright than inverted faces. In both groups, the cone of gaze was wider for angry faces than for fearful or neutral faces. These results suggest that in high-functioning adults with ASD, the perception of eye contact is not tuned to be finer for upright than inverted faces, but that information is nevertheless integrated across expression and gaze direction.