Eye Tracking

Autism's Earliest Symptoms Not Evident in Children Under 6 Months

Source: 
Science Daily
Date Published: 
February 16, 2010
Abstract: 

A study of the development of autism in infants, comparing the behavior of the siblings of children diagnosed with autism to that of babies developing normally, has found that the nascent symptoms of the condition -- a lack of shared eye contact, smiling and communicative babbling -- are not present at 6 months, but emerge gradually and only become apparent during the latter part of the first year of life.

Baby Face--Harvard Experts Hope Facial Recognition Studies Benefit Autism Research

Source: 
ABC News
Date Published: 
December 4, 2009
Abstract: 

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston studying the science of how babies read facial expressions say they're hoping their results will prove useful for autism and developmental research. Scientists at Harvard believe emotion detection is so crucial in everyday life that they're willing to cajole babies into an electrode "net" to see how to see how humans first learn to read faces.

Two-year-olds with autism orient to non-social contingencies rather than biological motion

Source: 
Nature, Klin, Lin, Gorrindo, Ramsay, Jones
Date Published: 
March 2009
Year Published: 
2009

Typically developing human infants preferentially attend to biological motion within the first days of life. This ability is highly conserved across species and is believed to be critical for filial attachment and for detection of predators. The neural underpinnings of biological motion perception are overlapping with brain regions involved in perception of basic social signals such as facial expression and gaze direction, and preferential attention to biological motion is seen as a precursor to the capacity for attributing intentions to others. However, in a serendipitous observation, we recently found that an infant with autism failed to recognize point-light displays of biological motion, but was instead highly sensitive to the presence of a non-social, physical contingency that occurred within the stimuli by chance. This observation raised the possibility that perception of biological motion may be altered in children with autism from a very early age, with cascading consequences for both social development and the lifelong impairments in social interaction that are a hallmark of autism spectrum disorders. Here we show that two-year-olds with autism fail to orient towards point-light displays of biological motion, and their viewing behavior when watching these point-light displays can be explained instead as a response to non-social, physical contingencies—physical continimplications for understanding the altered neurodevelopmental trajectory of brain specialization in autism.

Absence of Preferential Looking to the Eyes of Approaching Adults Predicts Level of Social Disability in 2-year old toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Source: 
Archives of General Psychiatry, Jones, Carr, et al
Date Published: 
2008

Looking at the eyes of others is important in early social development and in social adaptation throughout one's life span. Our results indicate that in 2-year-old children with autism, this behavior is already derailed, suggesting critical consequences for development but also offering a potential biomarker for quantifying syndrome manifestation at this early age.