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    Gaze following and attention to objects in infants at familial risk for ASD

    Parsons, Janet P. and Bedford, Rachael and Jones, Emily J.H. and Charman, T. and Johnson, Mark H. and Gliga, Teodora (2019) Gaze following and attention to objects in infants at familial risk for ASD. Frontiers in Psychology 10 , p. 1799. ISSN 1664-1078.

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    Reduced gaze following has been associated previously with lower language scores in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we use eye-tracking in a controlled experimental setting to investigate whether gaze following and attention distribution during a word learning task associate with later developmental and clinical outcomes in a population of infants at familial risk for ASD. Fifteen-month-old infants (n = 124; n = 101 with familial risk) watched an actress repeatedly gaze toward and label one of two objects present in front of her. We show that infants who later developed ASD followed gaze as frequently as typically developing peers but spent less time engaged with either object. Moreover, more time spent on faces and less on objects was associated with lower concurrent or later verbal abilities, but not with later symptom severity. No outcome group showed evidence for word learning. Thus, atypical distribution of attention rather than poor gaze following is a limiting factor for language development in infants at familial risk for ASD.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Infants, Familial Risk, Eye-tracking, Asd, Gaze Following
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    SWORD Depositor: Mr Joe Tenant
    Depositing User: Mr Joe Tenant
    Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2019 09:40
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:54


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