Gaze and visual search strategies of children with Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism viewing a magic trick
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Objective: To examine visual search patterns and strategies used by children with and without Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism (AS/HFA) while watching a magic trick. Limited responsivity to gaze cues is hypothesised to contribute to social deficits in children with AS/HFA. Methods: Twenty-one children with AS/HFA and 31 matched peers viewed a video of a gaze-cued magic trick twice. Between the viewings, they were informed about how the trick was performed. Participants’ eye movements were recorded using a head-mounted eye-tracker. Results: Children with AS/HFA looked less frequently and had shorter fixation on the magician’s direct and averted gazes during both viewings and more frequently at not gaze-cued objects and on areas outside the magician’s face. After being informed of how the trick was conducted, both groups made fewer fixations on gaze-cued objects and direct gaze. Conclusions: Information may enhance effective visual strategies in children with and without AS/HFA.
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