Analysis of face gaze in autism using “Bubbles. Neuropsychologia, 45, 144-151

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, HSS 228-77, Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.
Neuropsychologia (Impact Factor: 3.3). 02/2007; 45(1):144-51. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.04.027
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT One of the components of abnormal social functioning in autism is an impaired ability to direct eye gaze onto other people's faces in social situations. Here, we investigated the relationship between gaze onto the eye and mouth regions of faces, and the visual information that was present within those regions. We used the "Bubbles" method to vary the facial information available on any given trial by revealing only small parts of the face, and measured the eye movements made as participants viewed these stimuli. Compared to ten IQ- and age-matched healthy controls, eight participants with autism showed less fixation specificity to the eyes and mouth, a greater tendency to saccade away from the eyes when information was present in those regions, and abnormal directionality of saccades. The findings provide novel detail to the abnormal way in which people with autism look at faces, an impairment that likely influences all subsequent face processing.

Download full-text


Available from: Joseph Piven, Sep 26, 2015
166 Reads
  • Source
    • "percentage of time watching core facial features , whereas they view non - core feature areas more frequently ( Dalton et al . , 2005 ; Jemel et al . , 2006 ; Spezio et al . , 2007a ; Corden et al . , 2008 ) . In contrast , other studies have failed to find any differences between ASD patients and matched control subjects ( Lahaie et al . , 2006 ; Spezio et al . , 2007b ; Fletcher - Watson et al . , 2009 ) . With specific consideration of the mouth region , the results also remain unclear , since the differences between groups were small , particularly when static neutral pictures were used ( for review see Klin et al . , 1999 ; Jemel et al . , 2006 ; Rutherford and Towns , 2008 ; Falck - Ytter and von"
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) present reduced visual attention to faces. However, contradictory conclusions have been drawn about the strategies involved in visual face scanning due to the various methodologies implemented in the study of facial screening. Here, we used a data-driven approach to compare children and adults with ASD subjected to the same free viewing task and to address developmental aspects of face scanning, including its temporal patterning, in healthy children, and adults. Four groups (54 subjects) were included in the study: typical adults, typically developing children, and adults and children with ASD. Eye tracking was performed on subjects viewing unfamiliar faces. Fixations were analyzed using a data-driven approach that employed spatial statistics to provide an objective, unbiased definition of the areas of interest. Typical adults expressed a spatial and temporal strategy for visual scanning that differed from the three other groups, involving a sequential fixation of the right eye (RE), left eye (LE), and mouth. Typically developing children, adults and children with autism exhibited similar fixation patterns and they always started by looking at the RE. Children (typical or with ASD) subsequently looked at the LE or the mouth. Based on the present results, the patterns of fixation for static faces that mature from childhood to adulthood in typical subjects are not found in adults with ASD. The atypical patterns found after developmental progression and experience in ASD groups appear to remain blocked in an immature state that cannot be differentiated from typical developmental child patterns of fixation.
    Frontiers in Psychology 07/2015; 6:989. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00989 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "It is possible that atypical gaze behavior toward a nonspeaking static facial expression in individuals with ASD could be related to age. Adults with ASD have exhibited shorter fixation durations on the eyes or longer fixation durations on the mouth than those with typical development [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]. However, studies of children or adolescents with ASD have not found such differences [18] [19] [20] and have indicated that children with ASD have the same gaze behavior as typically developing children for facial expressions. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Atypical gaze behavior in response to a face has been well documented in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Children with ASD appear to differ from typically developing (TD) children in gaze behavior for spoken and dynamic face stimuli but not for nonspeaking, static face stimuli. Furthermore, children with ASD and TD children show a difference in their gaze behavior for certain expressions. However, few studies have examined the relationship between autism severity and gaze behavior toward certain facial expressions. The present study replicated and extended previous studies by examining gaze behavior towards pictures of facial expressions. We presented ASD and TD children with pictures of surprised, happy, neutral, angry, and sad facial expressions. Autism severity was assessed using the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS). The results showed that there was no group difference in gaze behavior when looking at pictures of facial expressions. Conversely, the children with ASD who had more severe autistic symptomatology had a tendency to gaze at angry facial expressions for a shorter duration in comparison to other facial expressions. These findings suggest that autism severity should be considered when examining atypical responses to certain facial expressions.
    06/2015; 2015. DOI:10.1155/2015/617190
  • Source
    • "Social content and image complexity Spezio et al., 2007 PWA: n ϭ 8, mean age "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Autism is associated with a range of language difficulties that impact communication, behaviour management, and education. Consequently, a variety of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies may be employed to support people with autism to communicate. There is a growing body of evidence concerning the visual attention of individuals with autism, which may be relevant to AAC interventions. This review draws on evidence from eye tracking research specifically to inform the design of AAC systems for people with autism. In addition, we discuss the future of AAC for individuals with autism in light of relevant technological developments, and raise questions for future research.
    Augmentative and alternative communication (Baltimore, Md.: 1985) 04/2014; 30(2). DOI:10.3109/07434618.2014.905635 · 2.59 Impact Factor
Show more