August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
Identifying social and non-social change in natural scenes: children vs.adults, and children with and without autism
Author Affiliations
  • Bhavin Sheth
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston
    Center for NeuroEngineering and Cognitive Systems, University of Houston
  • James Liu
    University of Houston
  • Olayemi Olagbaju
    University of Houston
  • Larry Varghese
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Houston
  • Rosleen Mansour
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Stacy Reddoch
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Deborah Pearson
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Katherine Loveland
    Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 1299. doi:10.1167/10.7.1299
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      Bhavin Sheth, James Liu, Olayemi Olagbaju, Larry Varghese, Rosleen Mansour, Stacy Reddoch, Deborah Pearson, Katherine Loveland; Identifying social and non-social change in natural scenes: children vs.adults, and children with and without autism. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1299. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1299.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Typically developing (TD) children use social cues (e.g. gestural joint attention, observations of facial expression, gaze etc.) to learn about the world. In contrast, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have deficits in joint attention and impaired social skills. Therefore, attentional processes that are under the guidance of social referencing cues should be better developed in TD versus ASD children. We employed the “change blindness” paradigm to compare how the presence, absence, or specific context of different types of social cues in a scene affect TD children, children with ASD, and typical adults in visually identifying change. Forty adults and forty children (22 high-functioning ASDs, 18 TDs) participated. Depending on the presence/absence and nature of the social cues in the scene, change was categorized into one of six conditions: an actor's facial expression or gaze, an object that an actor overtly pointed to or gazed at, an object connected with an actor in the scene, an object unconnected with any actors, an object while an actor pointed to a different, unchanging object, or an object in a scene containing no actors. Percent correct, response time, and inverse efficiency were measured. No significant differences were observed between children with and without autism. Children with autism use relevant social cues while searching a scene just as typical children do. Children (with and/or without autism) were significantly worse than adults in identifying change when an actor pointed to an unchanging object, or when an object changed, whether or not it was connected with an actor. Children were not worse than adults when no actors were present in the scene, or when an actor in the scene pointed to the change. Our findings suggest that compared with adults, children are over-reliant on social cues over other cues. Social cues “capture” the child's attention.

Sheth, B. Liu, J. Olagbaju, O. Varghese, L. Mansour, R. Reddoch, S. Pearson, D. Loveland, K. (2010). Identifying social and non-social change in natural scenes: children vs.adults, and children with and without autism [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):1299, 1299a, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/1299, doi:10.1167/10.7.1299. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 The research on which this paper is based was supported in part by a grant to Bhavin R. Sheth from Autism Speaks/National Alliance for Autism Research, by a grant to Katherine A. Loveland from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P01 HD035471) and by a grant to Deborah A. Pearson from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH072263).
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