July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrate normal attentional preference for faces and normal attentional disengagement
Author Affiliations
  • Jason Fischer
    Department of Brain and Cognitive Science and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Kami Koldewyn
    Department of Brain and Cognitive Science and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Yuhong Jiang
    Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
  • Nancy Kanwisher
    Department of Brain and Cognitive Science and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 942. doi:10.1167/13.9.942
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      ×
      This feature is available to Subscribers Only
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Jason Fischer, Kami Koldewyn, Yuhong Jiang, Nancy Kanwisher; Children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrate normal attentional preference for faces and normal attentional disengagement. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):942. doi: 10.1167/13.9.942.

      Download citation file:


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

      ×
  • Supplements
Abstract

Visual attention is widely thought to be affected in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Because attention determines what we experience, process deeply, and remember, early impairments of attention could have substantial consequences for the development of other perceptual and cognitive abilities. Here we use a naturalistic free viewing paradigm to test 45 children with ASD (age 5-12) and 40 typically-developing children matched in age and IQ on two key signatures of attention that have been implicated in autism: attentional disengagement, and preferential looking to faces. We find that attentional disengagement costs (i.e., longer reaction times to saccade to a new target when the original target remains present compared to when it disappears) are present in ASD but are not increased in magnitude compared to typical children. We further find that children with autism make faster saccades to new stimuli if they are faces as opposed to nonfaces, and the magnitude of this social preference is identical to that seen in typical children. Thus, in contrast to prior reports, our data indicate that neither of these classic signatures of attentional function is impaired in children with ASD. While such impairments may be evident in other conditions (for example, with dynamic stimuli), our data indicate that any such impairments do not reflect a general, across-the-board disruption of either attentional disengagement or preferential attention to faces.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

×
×

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.

×