Reduced Alternating Gaze During Social Interaction in Infancy is Associated with Elevated Symptoms of Autism in Toddlerhood
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In typical development, infants often alternate their gaze between their interaction partners and interesting stimuli, increasing the probability of joint attention toward surrounding objects and creating opportunities for communication and learning. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have been found to engage less in behaviors that can initiate joint attention compared to typically developing children, but the role of such atypicalities in the development of ASD during infancy is not fully understood. Here, using eye tracking technology in a live setting, we show that 10-month-olds at high familial risk for ASD engage less in alternating gaze during interaction with an adult compared to low risk infants. These differences could not be explained by low general social preference or slow visual disengagement, as the groups performed similarly in these respects. We also found that less alternating gaze at 10 months was associated with more social ASD symptoms and less showing and pointing at 18 months. These relations were similar in both the high risk and the low risk groups, and remained when controlling for general social preference and disengagement latencies. This study shows that atypicalities in alternating gaze in infants at high risk for ASD emerge already during the first 10 months of life - a finding with theoretical as well as potential practical implications.
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Thorup, E.; Nyström, P.; Gredebäck, G.; Bölte, Sven; Falck-Ytter, T. (2016)Background: The ability to follow gaze is an important prerequisite for joint attention, which is often compromised in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The direction of both the head and eyes provides cues ...
Responding to Other Peopleâ€™s Direct Gaze: Alterations in Gaze Behavior in Infants at Risk for Autism Occur on Very Short TimescalesNyström, P.; Bolte, Sven; Falck-Ytter, T.; Achermann, S.; Andersson Konke, L.; Brocki, K.; Cauvet, E.; Gredebäck, G.; Lundin Kleberg, J.; Nilsson Jobs, E.; Thorup, E.; Zander, E. (2017)Â© 2017, The Author(s). Atypical gaze processing has been reported in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Here we explored how infants at risk for ASD respond behaviorally to othersâ€™ direct gaze. We assessed ...
Gaze and visual search strategies of children with Asperger syndrome/high functioning autism viewing a magic trickJoosten, Annette; Girdler, Sonya; Albrecht, Matthew; Horlin, Chiara; Falkmer, Marita; Leung, Denise; Ordqvist, A.; Fleischer, H.; Falkmer, Torbjorn (2014)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 ...