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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders-V. Washington, DC: APA.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2012). Early markers of autism spectrum disorders in infants and toddlers prospectively identified in the Social Attention and Communication Study. Autism, 17, 64–86. doi:10.1177/1362361312442597.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Chawarska, K., Macari, S., & Shic, F. (2012). Context modulates attention to social scenes in toddlers with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 53(8), 903–913. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02538.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Chawarska, K., & Shic, F. (2009). Looking but not seeing: Atypical visual scanning and recognition of faces in 2 and 4-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(12), 1663–1672. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0803-7.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Chevallier, C., Kohls, G., Troiani, V., Brodkin, E. S., & Schultz, R. T. (2012). The social motivation theory of autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4), 231–239. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2012.02.007.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 37–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Falck-Ytter, T., Bölte, S., & Gredebäck, G. (2013). Eye tracking in early autism research. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 5(1), 28. doi:10.1186/1866-1955-5-28.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Falck-Ytter, T., Carlström, C., & Johansson, M. (2015). Eye contact modulates cognitive processing differently in children with autism. Child Development, 86(1), 37–47. doi:10.1111/cdev.12273.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Franchak, J. M., Kretch, K. S., Soska, K. C., & Adolph, K. E. (2011). Head-mounted eye tracking: A new method to describe infant looking. Child Development, 82(6), 1738–1750. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01670.x.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Guillon, Q., Hadjikhani, N., Baduel, S., & Rogé, B. (2014). Visual social attention in autism spectrum disorder: Insights from eye tracking studies. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 42, 279–297. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.03.013.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Jones, W., Carr, K., & Klin, A. (2008). Absence of preferential looking to the eyes of approaching adults predicts level of social disability in 2-year-old toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65(8), 946–954. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.65.8.946.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Jones, W., & Klin, A. (2013). Attention to eyes is present but in decline in 2–6-month-old infants later diagnosed with autism. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12715.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Lausberg, H., & Sloetjes, H. (2009). Coding gestural behavior with the NEUROGES-ELAN system. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 41(3), 841–849. doi:10.3758/BRM.41.3.591.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H., Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C., Pickles, A., & Rutter, M. (2000). The autism diagnostic observation schedule–generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30(3), 205–223.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. McDuffie, A. S., Yoder, P. J., & Stone, W. L. (2006). Labels increase attention to novel objects in children with autism and comprehension-matched children with typical development. Autism, 10(3), 288–301. doi:10.1177/1362361306063287.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Mundy, P., Fox, N., & Card, J. (2003). EEG coherence, joint attention and language development in the second year. Developmental Science, 6(1), 48–54. doi:10.1111/1467-7687.00253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Mundy, P., Block, J., Delgado, C., Pomares, Y., Van Hecke, A. V., & Parlade, M. V. (2007). Individual differences and the development of joint attention in infancy. Child Development, 78(3), 938–954.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  18. Mundy, P., Sullivan, L., & Mastergeorge, A. M. (2009). A parallel and distributed-processing model of joint attention, social cognition and autism. Autism Research, 2, 2–21. doi:10.1002/aur.61.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  19. Noris, B., Nadel, J., Barker, M., Hadjikhani, N., & Billard, A. (2012). Investigating gaze of children with ASD in naturalistic settings. PloS One, 7(9), e44144. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044144.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  20. Rozga, A., Hutman, T., Young, G. S., Rogers, S. J., Ozonoff, S., Dapretto, M., & Sigman, M. (2011). Behavioral profiles of affected and unaffected siblings of children with autism: Contribution of measures of mother-infant interaction and nonverbal communication. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(3), 287–301. doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1051-6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Shrout, P. E., & Fleiss, J. L. (1979). Intraclass correlations: Use in assessing rater reliability. Psychological Bulletin, 86(2), 420–428.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Thorup, E., Nyström, P., Gredebäck, G., Bölte, S., Falck-Ytter, T., & Team, T. E. (2016). Altered gaze following during live interaction in infants at risk for autism: An eye tracking study. Molecular Autism.doi:10.1186/s13229-016-0069-9.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  23. Wetherby, A., & Prizant, B. (2002). Communication and symbolic behavior scales developmental profile—First Normed edition. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Yoder, P., Stone, W. L., Walden, T., & Malesa, E. (2009). Predicting social impairment and ASD diagnosis in younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(10), 1381–1391. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0753-0.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  25. Yoder, P., & Symons, F. (2010). Observational measurement of behavior. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Zwaigenbaum, L., Bryson, S., Rogers, T., Roberts, W., Brian, J., & Szatmari, P. (2005). Behavioral manifestations of autism in the first year of life. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 23(2–3), 143–152. doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2004.05.001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarah R. Edmunds.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

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.

Informed Consent

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

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