Bottom-Up Attention Orienting in Young Children with Autism
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We examined the impact of simultaneous bottom-up visual influences and meaningful social stimuli on attention orienting in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Relative to typically-developing age and sex matched participants, children with ASDs were more influenced by bottom-up visual scene information regardless of whether social stimuli and bottom-up scene properties were congruent or competing. This initial reliance on bottom-up strategies correlated with severity of social impairment as well as receptive language impairments. These data provide support for the idea that there is enhanced reliance on bottom-up attention strategies in ASDs, and that this may have a negative impact on social and language development.
KeywordsBottom-up attention Saliency Visual attention Autism Eye tracking Social attention
Special gratitude to the Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University and the children and families who participated in this research. Also thanks to the James S. McDonnell Award in Human Cognition (DA) and Autism Speaks Translational Postdoctoral Fellowship (ET).
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