Eye Tracking

Autistic Children Can Miss Non-Verbal Cues When Listening

Source: 
Developmental Science
Date Published: 
September 10, 2013
Abstract: 

Due to the fact that many people with autism spectrum disorders have difficulty holding eye contact during face to face interaction, these people can miss out on important non-verbal cues during this interaction. The study also found that most people, whether typically- or non-typically developing, have difficulty holding eye contact when thinking, such as if asked to answer a challenging math problem.

Crossed Eyes and Lazy Eyes Are Common In Children With Autism

Source: 
Strabismus
Date Published: 
June 21, 2013
Abstract: 

A small study sampling 52 patients with autism found that eye problems, such as crossed eyes and lazy eyes, are common in children with autism.

Effects of Increased Development in Peripheral Vision on Children with Autism's Reduced Ability to Make Eye Contact

Source: 
The European Journal of Neuroscience
Date Published: 
May 22, 2013
Abstract: 

In this study, children with ASD showed higher activity in the periphery of their visual field as compared to children without ASD. This higher activity and dependency on their peripheral vision could be explained by reduced ability early in life to control their eye movements.

Decreased Spontaneous Attention to Social Scenes in 6-Month-Old Infants Later Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Biological Psychiatry
Date Published: 
January 14, 2013
Abstract: 

Yale researchers used eye-tracking technology to examine social monitoring skills of infants at high and low risk for autism. Compared to infants who developed typically, six-month olds later diagnosed with ASD looked less at the social scene, which involved a woman engaged in various activities. When they did attend to the social scene, they spent less time viewing the woman’s face.

The Role of the Amygdala In Atypical Gaze On Emotional Faces In Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: 
Journal of Neuroscience
Date Published: 
July 11, 2012
Abstract: 

"Reduced focus toward the eyes is a characteristic of atypical gaze on emotional faces in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Along with the atypical gaze, aberrant amygdala activity during face processing compared with neurotypically developed (NT) participants has been repeatedly reported in ASD. It remains unclear whether the previously reported dysfunctional amygdalar response patterns in ASD support an active avoidance of direct eye contact or rather a lack of social attention. Using a recently introduced emotion classification task, we investigated eye movements and changes in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in the amygdala with a 3T MRI scanner in 16 autistic and 17 control adult human participants. By modulating the initial fixation position on faces, we investigated changes triggered by the eyes compared with the mouth. Between-group interaction effects revealed different patterns of gaze and amygdalar BOLD changes in ASD and NT: Individuals with ASD gazed more often away from than toward the eyes, compared with the NT group, which showed the reversed tendency. An interaction contrast of group and initial fixation position further yielded a significant cluster of amygdala activity. Extracted parameter estimates showed greater response to eyes fixation in ASD, whereas the NT group showed an increase for mouth fixation. The differing patterns of amygdala activity in combination with differing patterns of gaze behavior between groups triggered by direct eye contact and mouth fixation, suggest a dysfunctional profile of the amygdala in ASD involving an interplay of both eye-avoidance processing and reduced orientation."

Design of a Virtual Reality Based Adaptive Response Technology for Children with Autism

Source: 
IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Date Published: 
January 4, 2013
Abstract: 

Results from this preliminary study suggest that an interactive virtual reality game can improve social communication skills in teens with ASD.

Atypical Audiovisual Speech Integration In Infants At Risk For Autism

Source: 
PLOS One
Date Published: 
May 15, 2012
Abstract: 

"The language difficulties often seen in individuals with autism might stem from an inability to integrate audiovisual information, a skill important for language development. We investigated whether 9-month-old siblings of older children with autism, who are at an increased risk of developing autism, are able to integrate audiovisual speech cues."

Infant Neural Sensitivity to Dynamic Eye Gaze Is Associated With Later Emerging Autism

Source: 
Current Biology
Date Published: 
February 21, 2012
Abstract: 

"Autism spectrum disorders (henceforth autism) are diagnosed in around 1% of the population [1]. Familial liability confers risk for a broad spectrum of difficulties including the broader autism phenotype (BAP) [2, 3]. There are currently no reliable predictors of autism in infancy, but characteristic behaviors emerge during the second year, enabling diagnosis after this age [4, 5]. Because indicators of brain functioning may be sensitive predictors, and atypical eye contact is characteristic of the syndrome [6-9] and the BAP [10, 11], we examined whether neural sensitivity to eye gaze during infancy is associated with later autism outcomes [12, 13]. We undertook a prospective longitudinal study of infants with and without familial risk for autism. At 6-10 months, we recorded infants' event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to viewing faces with eye gaze directed toward versus away from the infant [14]. Longitudinal analyses showed that characteristics of ERP components evoked in response to dynamic eye gaze shifts during infancy were associated with autism diagnosed at 36 months. ERP responses to eye gaze may help characterize developmental processes that lead to later emerging autism. Findings also elucidate the mechanisms driving the development of the social brain in infancy."

Precursors to Social and Communication Difficulties in Infants At-Risk for Autism: Gaze Following and Attentional Engagement

Source: 
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Date Published: 
October 2012
Abstract: 

"Whilst joint attention (JA) impairments in autism have been widely studied, little is known about the early development of gaze following, a precursor to establishing JA. We employed eye-tracking to record gaze following longitudinally in infants with and without a family history of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 7 and 13 months. No group difference was found between at-risk and low-risk infants in gaze following behaviour at either age. However, despite following gaze successfully at 13 months, at-risk infants with later emerging socio-communication difficulties (both those with ASD and atypical development at 36 months of age) allocated less attention to the congruent object compared to typically developing at-risk siblings and low-risk controls. The findings suggest that the subtle emergence of difficulties in JA in infancy may be related to ASD and other atypical outcomes."

Portable Intermodal Preferential Looking (IPL): Investigating Language Comprehension in Typically Developing Toddlers and Young Children with Autism.

Source: 
PubMed
Date Published: 
December 14, 2012
Abstract: 

Researchers at UCONN have developed an intermodel preferential looking assessment that relies on the child's attention, rather than verbal or gestural responses, to evaluate language comprehension.