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Li Wang, Ying Wang, Qian Xu, Dong Liu, Yi Jiang; Heritability of reflexive attentional orienting induced by social cues. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):436. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.436.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Social attention is crucial for adaptive social behaviors and nonverbal communications in humans, and the malfunction of which has been implicated in autism, a highly genetic neurodevelopmental disorder marked by striking social deficits. The present study investigated the genetic contribution to individual variation in social attention. Using a classical twin design, the heritability of reflexive attentional orienting effects induced by two distinctly different social cues (i.e., eye gaze and biological motion walking direction) was examined. Results revealed reliable genetic influences on reflexive social attention of both cues, and further analyses of the effect concordance for twin pair members across the two types of cues yielded significant positive correspondence for MZ twins (with identical genes) but not for DZ twins (sharing 50% genes), indicating that common genetic factors may be involved in driving the attentional effects induced by these two different forms of social cues. Moreover, no evidence of heritability was observed when nonsocial cues (i.e., arrows) were employed in the control experiment. These findings together suggest the role of social attention in seeking the potential endophenotypes for autism and encourage the identification of "social attention genes".
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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