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Is anyone looking at me? Direct gaze detection in children with and without autism

Senju, Atsushi and Kikuchi, Y. and Hasegawa, T. and Tojo, Y. and Osanai, H. (2008) Is anyone looking at me? Direct gaze detection in children with and without autism. Brain and Cognition 67 (2), pp. 127-139. ISSN 0278-2626.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2007.12.001

Abstract

Atypical processing of eye contact is one of the significant characteristics of individuals with autism, but the mechanism underlying atypical direct gaze processing is still unclear. This study used a visual search paradigm to examine whether the facial context would affect direct gaze detection in children with autism. Participants were asked to detect target gazes presented among distracters with different gaze directions. The target gazes were either direct gaze or averted gaze, which were either presented alone (Experiment 1) or within facial context (Experiment 2). As with the typically developing children, the children with autism, were faster and more efficient to detect direct gaze than averted gaze, whether or not the eyes were presented alone or within faces. In addition, face inversion distorted efficient direct gaze detection in typically developing children, but not in children with autism. These results suggest that children with autism use featural information to detect direct gaze, whereas typically developing children use configural information to detect direct gaze.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Brain and Cognition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Brain and Cognition, 67(2), July 2008, DOI:10.1016/j.bandc.2007.12.001
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Autism, autism spectrum disorder, gaze, direct gaze, face processing, visual search, search asymmetry, face inversion effect
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2011 10:48
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2565

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