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Brief Report: Using a Point-of-View Camera to Measure Eye Gaze in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder During Naturalistic Social Interactions: A Pilot Study

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show reduced gaze to social partners. Eye contact during live interactions is often measured using stationary cameras that capture various views of the child, but determining a child’s precise gaze target within another’s face is nearly impossible. This study compared eye gaze coding derived from stationary cameras to coding derived from a “point-of-view” (PoV) camera on the social partner. Interobserver agreement for gaze targets was higher using PoV cameras relative to stationary cameras. PoV camera codes, but not stationary cameras codes, revealed a difference between gaze targets of children with ASD and typically developing children. PoV cameras may provide a more sensitive method for measuring eye contact in children with ASD during live interactions.

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Acknowledgments

We offer our sincere thanks to the families who have participated in this research. We would also like to thank Katherine Ragsdale, Courtney Froehlig, Ghina Haidar, and Jasmine Yip for their assistance in coding. This research was supported in part by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Grant R01 HD057284.

Author contributions

SE conceived of the study, participated in data collection, performed statistical analyses, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript. AR helped conceive of the study, performed statistical analyses, participated in the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. YL performed statistical analyses and assisted in the interpretation of the data. EK participated in data collection, participated in the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. LI helped conceive of the study, assisted in the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. JR helped conceive of the study and assisted in the interpretation of the data. WS helped conceive of the study, assisted in the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Sarah R. Edmunds.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participations were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Edmunds, S.R., Rozga, A., Li, Y. et al. Brief Report: Using a Point-of-View Camera to Measure Eye Gaze in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder During Naturalistic Social Interactions: A Pilot Study. J Autism Dev Disord 47, 898–904 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-3002-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-3002-3

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Eye gaze
  • Behavioral coding
  • Measurement
  • Social interaction