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The development of face orienting mechanisms in infants at-risk for autism

Elsabbagh, Mayada and Gliga, Teodora and Pickles, A. and Hudry, K. and Charman, T. and Johnson, Mark H. (2013) The development of face orienting mechanisms in infants at-risk for autism. Behavioural Brain Research 251 , pp. 147-154. ISSN 0166-4328.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2012.07.030

Abstract

A popular idea related to early brain development in autism is that a lack of attention to, or interest in, social stimuli early in life interferes with the emergence of social brain networks mediating the typical development of socio-communicative skills. Compelling as it is, this developmental account has proved difficult to verify empirically because autism is typically diagnosed in toddlerhood, after this process of brain specialization is well underway. Using a prospective study, we directly tested the integrity of social orienting mechanisms in infants at-risk for autism by virtue of having an older diagnosed sibling. Contrary to previous accounts, infants who later develop autism exhibit a clear orienting response to faces that are embedded within an array of distractors. Nevertheless, infants at-risk for autism as a group, and irrespective of their subsequent outcomes, had a greater tendency to select and sustain attention to faces. This pattern suggests that interactions among multiple social and attentional brain systems over the first two years give rise to variable pathways in infants at-risk.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Autism, Infancy, At-risk, Face-processing, Attention, Prospective study
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2012 10:44
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2013 11:34
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5073

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