IMFAR 2017

You can download a PDF version of the poster here.

Eye-­tracking technology has emerged as a powerful tool for investigating social attention in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The majority of measurements of social attention have relied on looking time measures, interpreting longer looking times as an indication of preference for a certain area of interest (AOI). This measure of preference has been used to show that social attention is reduced in individuals with ASD as compared to typically developing (TD) controls. However, there are other features of social attention that require different eye-tracking measures to investigate, such as prioritization (do individuals with ASD prioritize social attention in the same way and to the same degree as TD controls?), exploration (do individuals with ASD explore the visual social world to the same extent?) or persistence (do individuals with ASD maintain the same kind of focus on social stimuli?). The goal of this paper is to systematically review eye-tracking studies reporting measures of prioritization, exploration and persistence of attention, to describe how these measures are defined and how they are reported and typically interpreted. Taken together the findings resulting from the use of these measures suggest that individuals with ASD seem to give less priority to social elements when they compete for visual attention with salient and interesting non-social ones, and that they are less inclined towards exploring novel areas of a scene and more inclined to persist in attending to one restricted area. However these tendencies do not seem to be fixed, but rather they are modulated by how salient, interesting and meaningful different elements of the visual environment are for the viewer.

Papers showing difference of preference for social stimuli between individuals with ASD and TD controls:

Chita-Tegmark, M. (2016).Social attention in ASD: a review and meta-analysis of eye-tracking studies. Research in developmental disabilities48, 79-93.

Chita-Tegmark, M. (2016). Attention allocation in ASD: a review and meta-analysis of eye-tracking studies. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders3(3), 209-223.