Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 11, pp 2536–2548 | Cite as

The Influences of Face Inversion and Facial Expression on Sensitivity to Eye Contact in High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Mark D. Vida
  • Daphne Maurer
  • Andrew J. Calder
  • Gillian Rhodes
  • Jennifer A. Walsh
  • Matthew V. Pachai
  • M. D. Rutherford
Original Paper


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.


Autism Gaze Eye contact Cone of gaze Facial expression Face inversion 



This research was supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (project number CE110001021), an ARC Professorial Fellowship to GR (project number DP0877379), Grant 9797 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) to DM, and an NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-V) to MV.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Vida
    • 1
  • Daphne Maurer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew J. Calder
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gillian Rhodes
    • 2
  • Jennifer A. Walsh
    • 1
  • Matthew V. Pachai
    • 1
  • M. D. Rutherford
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & BehaviourMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, School of PsychologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences UnitCambridgeUK

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