Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 108–121 | Cite as

Visual Fixation Patterns during Reciprocal Social Interaction Distinguish a Subgroup of 6-Month-Old Infants At-Risk for Autism from Comparison Infants

  • Noah Merin
  • Gregory S. Young
  • Sally Ozonoff
  • Sally J. Rogers
Original Paper

Abstract

Thirty-one infant siblings of children with autism and 24 comparison infants were tested at 6 months of age during social interaction with a caregiver, using a modified Still Face paradigm conducted via a closed-circuit TV-video system. In the Still Face paradigm, the mother interacts with the infant, then freezes and displays a neutral, expressionless face, then resumes interaction. Eye tracking data on infant visual fixation patterns were recorded during the three episodes of the experiment. Using a hierarchical cluster analysis, we identified a subgroup of infants demonstrating diminished gaze to the mother’s eyes relative to her mouth during the Still Face episode. Ten out of the 11 infants in this subgroup had an older sibling with autism.

Keywords

Autism Siblings Still Face paradigm Visual fixation patterns Eye–Mouth Index (EMI) Face perception High-risk infants 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noah Merin
    • 1
  • Gregory S. Young
    • 2
  • Sally Ozonoff
    • 2
  • Sally J. Rogers
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Neuroscience Graduate Group and School of Medicine, Class 2008University of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.M.I.N.D. InstituteUniversity of CA, Davis Medical CenterSacramentoUSA

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