AbstractFalck-Ytter, T., Thorup, E., Bölte, S. (2015) Brief Report: Lack of Processing Bias for the Objects Other People Attend to in 3-Year-Olds with Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45 (6), 1897-1904.
Whether gaze following—a key component of
joint attention—is impaired in children with autism spectrum
disorder (ASD) is currently debated. Functional gaze
following involves saccading towards the attended rather
than unattended targets (accuracy) as well as a subsequent
processing bias for attended objects. Using non-invasive eye
tracking technology, we show that gaze following accuracy
is intact in intellectually low-functioning 3-year-olds with
ASD. However, analyses of the duration of first fixations at
the objects in the scene revealed markedly weaker initial
processing bias for attended objects in children with ASD
compared to children with typical development and nonautistic children with developmental delays. Limited processing bias for the objects other people attend to may negatively affect learning opportunities in ASD.