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Gaze following, gaze reading, and word learning in children at-risk for autism

Gliga, Teodora and Elsabbagh, Mayada and Hudry, K. and Charman, T. and Johnson, Mark H. (2012) Gaze following, gaze reading, and word learning in children at-risk for autism. Child Development 82 (6), pp. 2138-2143. ISSN 0009-3920.

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We investigated gaze following abilities as a prerequisite for word learning, in a population expected to manifest a wide range of individual variability – children with a family history of autism. Three-year-olds with or without a family history of autism took part in a word-learning task that required following gaze to find the correct referent of a novel word. Using an eye-tracker to monitor children’s gaze behavior we show that the ability to follow an adult’s gaze was necessary but not sufficient for successful word learning. Those children that had poor social and communicative skills could follow gaze to the correct object, but did not then learn the word associated with that object. These findings shed light on the conditions that lead to successful or less successful word learning in typical and atypical populations.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2012 10:13
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

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