Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Prefer Looking at Repetitive Movements in a Preferential Looking Paradigm
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The present study aimed to investigate the visual preference for repetitive movements in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Young children with ASD and typically-developing (TD) children were presented simultaneously with cartoons depicting repetitive and random movements respectively, while their eye-movements were recorded. We found that: (1) the children with ASD spent more time fixating on the repetitive movements than the random movements, whereas the TD children showed no preference for either type of movements; (2) the children’s preference for the repetitive movements was correlated with the parent reports of their repetitive behaviors. Our findings show a promise in using the preferential looking as a potential indicator for the repetitive behaviors and aiding early screening of ASD in future investigations.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Repetitive behavior Visual repetitive movement Eye movement Visual preference
This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31571135, 31470974) and Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission (Z171100000117015). The authors are grateful to Xiaoyan Chen, Jiayun Guo, Yifang Weng, Sinong Chen, Dr. Lisa Joseph, Dr. Junhao Pan, Tianbi Li, and staff in the Third Affiliated Hospital in Sun Yat-sen University, and children and parents who participated in our study.
LY, QW, BZ, SL, and FF conceived the study and created stimuli. YH and YZ carried out the testing. DS and QW formally analyzed the data and created the visualization of the data. QW, DS, YH, and LY drafted the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and gave final approval for publication.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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