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Eye contact in children's social interactions: What is normal behaviour?

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Abstract

Most remediation programmes for children with autism include training of eye contact behaviours, yet little data exist regarding levels of gaze behaviours in the social interactions of children without developmental disorders. Three behaviours were conventionally defined: (a) eye gaze, (b) joint attention, and (c) object engagement. Normative data were collected from children aged 5 to 10, who were observed in child-to-child social interactions (small playgroups). Joint attention was positively related to age and type of activity engaged in. Object engagement was consistently high across all age groups. Eye gaze was low relative to joint attention and object engagement, and was not significantly related to age. Eye gaze, as observed in small group interactions, was found to be significantly less than what has been reported for adult-child and adult-adult dyads. The implications of these findings for remedial training are discussed. Eye Contact in Children's Social Interactions: What is Normal Behaviour?

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... In early development, eye contact serves to regulate face-to-face social interactions (Lee, Eskritt, Symons, & Muir, 1998;Leekam, Baron-Cohen, Perrett, Milders, & Brown, 1997) and contribute communicatively to social interactions (Tiegerman & Primavera, 1984). Later, eye contact responses coordinate the visual attention between another individu-al and an object of interest (Arnold, Semple, Beale, & Fletcher-Flinn, 2000) and have been found to be an influencing variable in language acquisition (Podrouzek & Furrow, 1988). ...
... The premise of these interventions was that if children with autism failed to orient toward the instructor, they would also fail to respond and learn (Foxx, 1977;Helgeson et al., 1989;Lovaas, 1977;Lovaas, 1981). Despite the capacity of these behavioral interventions to increase eye contact with children with autism, there have been increasing concerns regarding the functionality of such interventions (Arnold et al., 2000;Mirenda et al., 1983;Rollins, 1999;Seibert & Oller, 1981;Turkstra, 2005). Specifically, the results of studies investigating eye contact as a prerequisite skill for intensive instruction showed limited generality across social settings, other functions, or other instructors and persons (Fay & Schuler, 1980;Wing, 1976). ...
... One such account was provided by Dube et al. (2004) related to the occurrence of joint attention. Initiation of joint attention (IJA), recognized as one of the earliest forms of communication in young children (Bruner, 1975;Mundy, Sigman, & Kasari, 1994;Taylor & Hoch, 2008), consists of the coordination of visual attention between another individual in the environment and an object of interest, presumably serving to direct the other's gaze to the item in question (Arnold et al., 2000). According to the interpretative analysis offered by Dube et al. (2004) an interesting event (e.g., a plane flying across the sky) in the context of a familiar adult who is not attending to the event acts as an MO (Michael, 1993). ...
Article
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Eye contact occurs very early in development and serves many functions for the young child. It has been implicated in the development of social, cognitive, and language skills. A substantial number of children with autism fail to develop this important skill and therefore experimenters with both developmental and behavior analytic perspectives have researched methods to teach eye contact. However, only a few researchers have recently attempted to condition the response of the communication partner as a reinforcer for social behavior and thereby arrange the conditions under which typical children develop social responses. The purpose of this case study was to extend the analysis of typical development of social skills to the teaching of eye contact as a language pragmatic skill to a child with autism. Data from a single case study of a child with autism are provided.
... For example, unlike many children with ASD, typically developing children often make eye contact when communicating during play (e.g. requesting a toy from a play partner) [4,20,21]. Teaching eye contact within the context of toy play may promote generalization and maintenance by facilitating the transfer of stimulus control from instructional settings to the real world [19]. Additionally, provision of a requested toy is a natural reinforcer for requesting a toy during play. ...
... First, too much eye contact (i.e. excessive eye-to-eye gazing) may be stigmatizing and/or lead to communication breakdowns [20]. Ideally, social norms should be considered when selecting mastery criteria for a social behaviour. ...
Article
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Purpose: Differential reinforcement and most-to-least prompting were implemented within the context of developmentally appropriate play activities in an effort to improve the eye contact between a 4-year-old boy with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and his three therapists. Methods: A multiple baseline design across therapists was used to examine the eye contact of a 4-year-old boy with PDD-NOS. Maintenance data were collected at 1, 2 and 3 months post intervention. Results: The intervention was effective and improvements in eye contact were maintained for at least 3 months post intervention. However, eye contact did not readily generalize across communication partners. Conclusions: Results suggest that eye contact may not generalize to communication partners who are not directly involved in intervention. Results are discussed in terms of implications for practitioners and directions for future research.
... Research suggests that when a child with autism is spoken to, they will spend twice as much time watching the speaker's mouth as opposed to their eyes (Jones, Carr, & Klin, 2008). This is problematic because attention to the speaker's eyes may be an important response in terms of social development and social adaption (Arnold, Semple, Beale, & Fletcher-Flinn, 2000;Jones, Carr, & Klin, 2008;Mirenda, Donnellan, & Yoder, 1983). In the beginning, early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) programs emphasized the establishment of eye contact (Lovaas et al., 1981) and the recent interest in joint attention has produced a return to the issue (Myers & Johnson, 2007). ...
... As these types of interventions continue to be carried out, there remains a need for more data about the rates of responses and underlying sources of control for typically developing children. Few studies (Arnold et al., 2000) have addressed behaviors (such as eye contact) in children without developmental disabilities. Without these data, practitioners are possibly left without empirical guidance when selecting the appropriate duration and frequency of a particular behavior. ...
... Ketika kontak mata sudah terbentuk, hal lain seperti melatih imitasi verbal dan non-verbal, serta bahasa dapat diberikan (Harris, 1975, dalam Foxx, 1977. Dengan demikian, pelatihan pada kontak mata dipercaya akan meningkatkan kemampuan sosial anak-anak dengan gangguan perkembangan (Arnold et al., 2000). ...
... Kontak mata yang tidak memadai pada umumnya merupakan salah satu kekurangan atau defisit yang mendasari banyaknya gangguan pada anak dengan gangguan perkembangan (Arnold et al., 2000), seperti halnya H. Pada kasus H, orang lain harus secara aktif mengajak H berinteraksi dengan mengikuti mata serta dengan nada dan wajah yang ekspresif atau memberikan hal yang menarik agar ia melakukan kontak mata dan benarbenar memperhatikan. Ketika sudah melakukan kontak mata, H menjadi lebih responsif. ...
Article
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Abstrak. Kontak mata merupakan prasyarat penting bagi seseorang untuk dapat mencapai kemampuan yang lebih kompleks, seperti halnya bahasa dan sosial. Oleh karena itu, kontak mata menjadi target perilaku pertama untuk diintervensi. H merupakan anak laki-laki berusia 4 tahun 8 bulan dengan diagnosis Global Developmental Delay yang sangat jarang melakukan kontak mata dengan orang lain. Ia belum mampu berkomunikasi dan respon yang ditunjukkan terhadap sekitarnya juga sangat minim. Penelitian ini merupakan penelitian single-subject, yang bertujuan untuk mengetahui efektivitas penerapan prompting dalam meningkatkan frekuensi kontak mata anak dengan Global Developmental Delay (H). Kontak mata anak diperoleh dari data pencatatan melalui observasi langsung dan didukung dengan alat ukur Kuesioner Kontak Mata dan Kuesioner Kemampuan Bahasa dan Personal/Sosial yang diisi oleh orang tua. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan adanya peningkatan frekuensi kemunculan kontak mata serta peningkatan skor pada kedua kuesioner sebelum (pre-test) dan sesudah (post-test) intervensi diberikan. Meskipun demikian, kontak mata belum muncul secara konsisten setiap kali anak dipanggil namanya dan hasil penelitian ini masih perlu didukung oleh penelitian serupa, khususnya pada kelompok anak dengan Global Developmental Delay.Kata Kunci: Prompting, Kontak Mata, Global Developmental Delay. Abstract. Eye contact is an important prerequisite to achieve more complex abilities, such as language and social. Therefore, it is the first behavior targeted for intervention. H is a 4-year-old boy with a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay who rarely makes eye contact with other people. He has not been able to communicate and the response shown to his surrounding is also very minimal. This study is a single-subject research, which aims to determine the effectiveness of the application of prompting in increasing the frequency of eye contact in children with Global Developmental Delay (H). Child's eye contact is obtained from the recorded data through direct observation and supported by Children’s Eye Contact Questionnaire and Language and Personal/Social Ability Questionnaire filled by parents. The result showed an increase in the frequency of eye contact occurrence and an increase in scores on both questionnaires before (pre-test) and after (post-test) intervention was given. However, eye contact has not occurred consistently every time the child is called by his name and the result of this study still need to be supported by similar research, especially in children with Global Developmental Delay.Keywords: Prompting, Eye Contact, Global Developmental Delay.
... In early developmental stages, children employ eye contact to regulate the face-to-face social interaction. Later, it coordinates the visual attention between another individual and object of an interest [68]. ...
... Considering the proposed PPM algorithm, it may perceive that PPM's performance should always improve when the maximum context length (D) is increased. Although, increasing maximum context length specifies more predictions, it also causes the longer 68 contexts have greater chance of not giving rise to any prediction at all. This results the escape mechanism to be used more frequently. ...
... In addition, these practices enhance attention and affective self-regulation in both community and clinical populations (Jensen, Vangkilde, Frokjaer, & Hasselbalch, 2012;Ortner, Kilner, & Zelazo, 2007;Semple, 2010;Semple, Lee, Rosa, & Miller, 2010;Semple, Reid, & Miller, 2005;Tang et al., 2007). Parents, teachers, and peers often find lack of eye contact, hyperactivity, and resistance to change difficult to manage (Arnold, Semple, Beale, & Fletcher-Flinn, 2000;Lord & Magill-Evans, 1995). ...
Preprint
Background: Yoga and mindfulness-based programs are becoming increasingly popular as a supplemental intervention for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Increasing numbers of children, parents, and schools are participating in programs around the country with an enthusiasm that far exceeds the research support for their efficacy. Therapies that are safe but not effective may not cause immediate harm. Nevertheless, the misappropriation of limited time and financial resources may result in missed opportunities. The need for clearly defined, evidence-based therapies for youth with ASD is essential. Method: Electronic databases were searched for peer-reviewed intervention research studies using the key words autistic or autism in combination with yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Results: The findings are described in this critical review of eight empirical research studies that implemented yoga and mindfulness-based interventions for children with ASD. Although few studies reported improvements in core symptoms of ASD, preliminary findings suggest that yoga and mindfulness-based interventions are feasible and may improve a variety of prosocial behaviors, including communication and imitative behaviors; increased tolerance of sitting and of adult proximity; self-control; quality of life; and social responsiveness, social communication, social cognition, preoccupations, and social motivation. Reductions in aggressive behaviors, irritability, lethargy, social withdrawal, and non-compliance were also reported. Conclusions: Based on the available literature, the empirical evidence to support the efficacy of yoga and mindfulness-based interventions for children and adolescents with ASD is inconclusive. The current body of research has significant limitations, including small sample sizes, no fidelity measures, and no control groups. Each of the eight studies, however, reported some positive effects on social, emotional, or behavioral metrics. These early results are promising and sufficient to warrant support for further research.
... Although some patterns of speech behavior during face-to-face interactions, such as in turn-taking, are common across different languages and cultures (Stivers et al., 2009), the role of gaze behavior in interaction seems to be culturally-as well as contextually-dependent (Foddy, 1978;Haensel et al., 2017Haensel et al., , 2020Hessels, 2020;Kleinke, 1986;Patterson, 1982;Rossano et al., 2009;Schofield et al., 2008). Observational studies on gaze behavior during interaction have been conducted in many different interpersonal contexts, such as interactions between adults, parents and infants, parents and children, as well as clinical interviews and conversations with typically and atypically developing children (Argyle & Cook, 1976;Arnold et al., 2000;Ashear & Snortum, 1971;Berger & Cunningham, 1981;Cipolli et al., 1989;Kendon, 1967;Levine & Sutton-Smith, 1973;Mirenda et al., 1983). More recently, new eye-tracking techniques have been developed to measure gaze behavior of individuals during face-toface interactions with higher spatial and temporal resolution Ho et al., 2015;Rogers et al., 2018). ...
Article
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A primary mode of human social behavior is face-to-face interaction. In this study, we investigated the characteristics of gaze and its relation to speech behavior during video-mediated face-to-face interactions between parents and their preadolescent children. 81 parent–child dyads engaged in conversations about cooperative and conflictive family topics. We used a dual-eye tracking setup that is capable of concurrently recording eye movements, frontal video, and audio from two conversational partners. Our results show that children spoke more in the cooperation-scenario whereas parents spoke more in the conflict-scenario. Parents gazed slightly more at the eyes of their children in the conflict-scenario compared to the cooperation-scenario. Both parents and children looked more at the other's mouth region while listening compared to while speaking. Results are discussed in terms of the role that parents and children take during cooperative and conflictive interactions and how gaze behavior may support and coordinate such interactions.
... Even if the use of high-integrity eye contact in DTI does not have what might be considered a clinically significant impact on the speed of learner acquisition (e.g., Amanda), the impact that eye contact as a skill has on other areas of development strengthens the importance of requiring it during DTI instruction. For example, in addition to eye contact being used as an indicator of student attending, eye contact is important in general for individuals with ASD because it is implicated in various areas of development, such as language development (Carbone et al. 2013;Mundy et al. 1990), cognitive skills (Carbone et al. 2013), and social skills (Arnold et al. 2000). Since eye contact has social and developmental significance and can be a difficult skill for students with ASD to learn, requiring eye contact in every trial provides practice to strengthen this skill. ...
Article
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Researchers widely assert that requiring eye contact from students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) before instruction is highly important to the outcome of teaching (Greer and Ross in Verbal behavior analysis, Pearson Education, New York, 2008; Lovaas in J Consult Clin Psychol 55(1):3–9, 1977. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006x.55.1.3). However, to our knowledge, no research to date has evaluated the effects of this component of instruction on skill acquisition. In this current study, we evaluated the effect of requiring student eye contact from participants with ASD prior to giving an instruction on the rate of skill acquisition. Using an adapted alternating treatments design, this study compared the skill acquisition of three participants diagnosed with ASD during discrete-trial instruction (DTI) for expressive identification of novel items. Requiring eye contact was manipulated as a treatment integrity error during DTI in high-integrity, low-integrity, and control conditions. The experimenter established eye contact with the participants prior to giving an instruction during 100% of trials in the high-integrity condition, whereas eye contact was only established prior to the instruction in 67% of trials in the low-integrity condition. Results indicate that all three participants acquired expressive labels for items in fewer sessions in the high-integrity condition as compared to the low-integrity condition. Implications for the impact of eye contact on skill acquisition are discussed.
... The three videos were synchronized and combined into one video in post processing. Rating was done by external assessors, who coded the level of eye contact with a coding scheme on computerized software (Asan et al. 2013) 55 Abele (1986), Allen and Guy (1977), Amerikaner (1980), Arnold et al. (2000), Asan et al. (2013Asan et al. ( , 2015, Bavelas et al. (2002, Berger andCunningham (1981), Biasutti et al. (2016), Cary (1978), Cipolli et al. (1989), Cohen et al. (1989Cohen et al. ( , 1991, Cordell and McGahan (2004, (1996), Podrouzek and Furrow (1988), Rutter et al. (1978), Rutter (1976), Saenz and Alexander (2013), Schofield et al. (2008), Schulz and Barefoot (1974), Sharpley and Sagris (1995), Stephenson et al. (1973) ...
Article
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Eye contact is a fundamental aspect of nonverbal communication and therefore important for understanding human interaction. Eye contact has been the subject of research in many disciplines, including communication sciences, social psychology, and psychiatry, and a variety of techniques have been used to measure it. The choice of measurement method has consequences for research outcomes and their interpretation. To ensure that research findings align with study aims and populations, it is essential that methodological choices are well substantiated. Therefore, to enhance the effective examination of eye contact, we performed a literature review of the methods used to study eye contact. We searched Medline, PsycINFO and Web of Science for empirical peer-reviewed articles published in English that described quantitative studies on human eye contact and included a methodological description. The identified studies (N = 109) used two approaches to assess eye contact: direct, i.e., assessing eye contact while it is occurring, and indirect, i.e., assessing eye contact retrospectively (e.g., from video recordings). Within these categories, eight specific techniques were distinguished. Variation was found regarding the reciprocity of eye contact between two individuals, the involvement of an assessor and the behavior of participants while being studied. Measures not involving the interactors in assessment of eye contact and have a higher spatial and temporal resolution, such as eye tracking, have gained popularity. Our results show wide methodological diversity regarding the measurement of eye contact. Although studies often define eye contact as gaze towards an exact location, this may not do justice to the subjective character of eye contact. The various methodologies have hardly ever been compared, limiting the ability to compare findings between studies. Future studies should take notice of the controversy surrounding eye contact measures.
... In addition, these practices enhance attention and affective self-regulation in both community and clinical populations (Jensen, Vangkilde, Frokjaer, & Hasselbalch, 2012;Ortner, Kilner, & Zelazo, 2007;Semple, 2010;Semple, Lee, Rosa, & Miller, 2010;Semple, Reid, & Miller, 2005;Tang et al., 2007). Parents, teachers, and peers often find lack of eye contact, hyperactivity, and resistance to change difficult to manage (Arnold, Semple, Beale, & Fletcher-Flinn, 2000;Lord & Magill-Evans, 1995). ...
Article
Background Yoga and mindfulness‐based programs are becoming increasingly popular as a supplemental intervention for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Increasing numbers of children, parents, and schools are participating in programs around the country with an enthusiasm that far exceeds the research support for their efficacy. Therapies that are safe but not effective may not cause immediate harm. Nevertheless, the misappropriation of limited time and financial resources may result in missed opportunities. The need for clearly defined, evidence‐based therapies for youth with ASD is essential. Method Electronic databases were searched for peer‐reviewed intervention research studies using the key words autistic or autism in combination with yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Results The findings are described in this critical review of eight empirical research studies that implemented yoga and mindfulness‐based interventions for children with ASD. Although few studies reported improvements in core symptoms of ASD, preliminary findings suggest that yoga and mindfulness‐based interventions are feasible and may improve a variety of prosocial behaviors, including communication and imitative behaviors; increased tolerance of sitting and of adult proximity; self‐control; quality of life; and social responsiveness, social communication, social cognition, preoccupations, and social motivation. Reductions in aggressive behaviors, irritability, lethargy, social withdrawal, and noncompliance were also reported. Conclusions Based on the available literature, the empirical evidence to support the efficacy of yoga and mindfulness‐based interventions for children and adolescents with ASD is inconclusive. The current body of research has significant limitations, including small sample sizes, no fidelity measures, and no control groups. Each of the eight studies, however, reported some positive effects on social, emotional, or behavioral metrics. These early results are promising and sufficient to warrant support for further research.
... Despite a growing collection of evidence-based training strategies, the literature lacks a consensus on outcome training criteria. Previous investigations typically evaluated dependent variables such as percentage of trials or opportunities with eye contact, [3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13] duration of eye contact, 14,15,17,18 percentage of intervals with eye contact, 31 latency to initiating eye contact, 5,8 and as a behavioral indicator on a Likert rating scale. 16 Behaviors researchers have targeted for complex social skills training include greeting others, [22][23][24][25][26] initiating, [22][23][24][25][26] responding, 22,23,25,26 and maintaining interactions, 23,25,26 giving and receiving compliments, 26,27 engaging in eye contact, [22][23][24][25][26] taking turns, 23,25 sharing, [22][23][24][25] introducing oneself, 25 listening, 23,25 negotiating, 23,25 dealing with teasing and bullying, 23,25 and emotion recognition. ...
Article
Nuhu and Rapp identified three profiles undergraduates displayed during social interactions. We evaluated the social validity of these three profiles in two studies. In Study 1 we presented video exemplars of speakers representing each profile to undergraduate participants and asked them to rate the speaker in respect to various statements. Results showed that one profile was rated significantly different than the other two profiles on all but one statement. In Study 2 we further evaluated the role of eye contact in the profile that participants rated differently in Study 1. Results from Study 2 showed that a speaker engaging in low eye contact was rated lower than a speaker engaging in either a validated or high level of eye contact. Likewise, participants with self-reported high social competency provided more negative ratings of a speaker who displayed low eye contact than participants with self-reported Moderate and Low social competency.
... Also, Levin and Sutton-Smith (1973) found that only adults ended and began utterances with a gaze. Moreover, Arnold, Semple, Beale, and Fletcher-Flinn (2000) collected normative data on eye gaze in conjunction with joint attention and object manipulation on typically developing children, 5 to 10 years of age. More precisly, they observed the child-to-child social interactions in small play groups and found eye gaze to be significantly less than what literature has reported for adult-child and adult-adult interactions. ...
Article
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Sixteen mentally retarded persons participated in a study in order to learn how to speak to their peers. Eight of the participants were children, 9 to 16 years of age, while the remaining eight participants were young adults, 22 to 36 years of age. All the participants had developed adequate verbal behavior making them capable of communicating with their peers. However, parents and caretakers reported that they had never observed the participants talk to each other. The participants were assigned to six different groups on the basis of their scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. All the participants learned how to carry on a conversation with the peers from their group and generalized this ability with peers in other groups and in other settings. As the frequency of speaking to a peer increased, so did the frequency of the social appropriate behavior of looking at person, when speaking to him or her.
... It is possible that tested skills sets may have been related early in typical development but were no longer associated in our older sample thereby limiting the ability to detect correlations. For instance, typically developing children make less eye contact as they age (Arnold, Semple, & Beale, 2000), ...
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The purpose of this study was to address the lack of quantitative data on eye-to-face gaze (also known as eye contact) in the literature on pragmatic communication. The study focused on adolescents and young adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI), as gaze often is included in social skills intervention in this population. Gaze times were calculated for participants with TBI (n = 16) and their typically developing (TD) peers (n = 16) engaged in 3-min extemporaneous conversations. The TD group members looked at the face of their conversation partner an average of 62% of the time while listening and 43% of the time while speaking, versus 67% and 51%, respectively, for the TBI group. There were no significant between-groups differences in average gaze times, but the within-group variability was significantly greater in the TBI group. As there was no evidence of a uniform trend in gaze times among participants with TBI, general intervention to increase eye contact does not appear warranted. Instead, goals must consider that gaze is a highly complex behavior, not necessarily indicative of attention to one's partner, and that there are potential reasons for gaze aversion in individuals with cognitive limitations.
Article
Conversation is a primary area of difficulty for individuals with high-functioning autism (HFA) although they have unimpaired formal language abilities. This likely stems from the unstructured nature of face-to-face conversation as well as the need to coordinate other modes of communication (e.g. eye gaze) with speech. We conducted a quantitative analysis of both verbal exchange and gaze data obtained from conversations between children with HFA and an adult, compared with those of typically developing children matched on language level. We examined a new question: how does speaking about a topic of interest affect reciprocity of verbal exchange and eye gaze? Conversations on generic topics were compared with those on individuals' circumscribed interests, particularly intense interests characteristic of HFA. Two opposing hypotheses were evaluated. Speaking about a topic of interest may improve reciprocity in conversation by increasing participants' motivation and engagement. Alternatively, it could engender more one-sided interaction, given the engrossing nature of circumscribed interests. In their verbal exchanges HFA participants demonstrated decreased reciprocity during the interest topic, evidenced by fewer contingent utterances and more monologue-style speech. Moreover, a measure of stereotyped behaviour and restricted interest symptoms was inversely related to reciprocal verbal exchange. However, both the HFA and comparison groups looked significantly more to their partner's face during the interest than generic topic. Our interpretation of results across modalities is that circumscribed interests led HFA participants to be less adaptive to their partner verbally, but speaking about a highly practiced topic allowed for increased gaze to the partner. The function of this increased gaze to partner may differ for the HFA and comparison groups.
Article
Mutual gaze has been shown to be a valuable channel of nonverbal communication. To examine mutual gaze between parents and children, 43 European American (EA) and 57 Mexican American (MA) families were coded on the occurrence of talking and gaze during a brief discussion. MA families showed lower levels of father-to-child gaze, mother-to-son gaze, and child-to-father gaze than EA families. MA families also showed less father–child mutual gaze, as well as less mother–child gaze for sons than EA families. Child gaze aversion was more common in European American families. Levels of gaze, father–child mutual gaze, and child gaze aversion all were positively correlated with acculturation. The importance of research exploring possible differences in function and meaning of gaze across cultural groups is emphasized.
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This pilot study set out to examine the impact of a regular practice of yoga within schooling curricular hours on the well‐being and behaviors of atypically developing children. The design of this study was based on a qualitative hermeneutic‐phenomenology approach. The intervention consisted of 5 weekly sessions of yoga of 15 minutes each and composed of breathing techniques (pranayama), postures (pranayama), and lying down relaxation exercises (yoga nidra). The research site was a special needs school in South Auckland, New Zealand in an area characterized by poor socio‐economic living conditions with a composite range of different ethnic groups. The findings of this study suggest that a regular practice of yoga can have numerous benefits for children on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). They found yoga to be a fun‐filled and engaging experience. They improved significantly in their flexibility levels and general physical health. Emotionally, the children reported that the breathing techniques allowed them to feel calmer and more relaxed. The children felt that incorporating a regular practice of yoga within formal curriculum will be another effective tool to enhancing their overall health and well‐being.
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We tested the effects of the establishment of conditioned reinforcement for observing human faces and/or voices on the rate of learning, observing responses, and verbal operant emissions for four children, ages 4-5 years, with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and related disorders. We used a non-concurrent, delayed probe design across participants with pre and post-intervention measures. The intervention included a conjugate stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure. Results demonstrated that as a function of the intervention, faces were conditioned for three out of three participants and voices were conditioned for two out of two participants for whom either was lacking respectively prior to the intervention (both faces and voices were conditioned for one participant). Post-intervention probes demonstrated increases in rate of learning, observing responses, and verbal operants for all four participants.
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The study aimed at designing a training program for social skills in reducing some behavioral problems among a sample of female autistic students from Saudi Arabia. The sample consisted of 24 student wih an age range 7-14 years, and IQ between 55 and 68. The researcher used several tools including: Intelligence scale, socio-economic status, and the training program. The sample was devided into two groups: experimental and control. The main results of the study showed that there were differences between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups in telemetric problems of behavioral and social skills in favor of the experimental group. Also there were differences between the mean scores of the pre-test and post-test of experimental group in regard to the behavioral problems and social skills. However, there was no significant difference between the post-test and the extended effect (2 months afte the end of the program) whether in behavioral problems or social skills.
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هدفت الدراسة إلى التحقق من أثر برنامج تدريبي للمهارات الاجتماعية في خفض بعض المشكلات السلوكية لدى عينة من الطالبات التوحديات بمنطقة تبوك المملكة العربية السعودية، استخدمت الباحثة عينة قوامها ٢٤ طالبة، تراوحت أعمارهن بين(٧-١٤) سنة ونسب ذكائهن بين(٥٥- ٦٨)، اعتمدت الباحثة على التصميم التجريبي ذي المجموعتين (قبلي – بعدي)، إحداهما تجريبية والأخرى ضابطة، طبق مقياس جوارد للذكاء، مقياس تقدير المستوى الاقتصادي والاجتماعي للأسرة (الشخص،1995)، مقياس الطفل التوحدي (عبد الله،2000)، قائمة تقدير التفاعلات الاجتماعية للأطفال التوحديين (غزال،2007)، مقياس المشكلات السلوكية للأطفال المتخلفين عقليا من الدرجة البسيطة (دبيس، 1997) والبرنامج التدريبي (إعداد الباحثة)، حيث اعتمد البرنامج على فنيات العلاج المعرفي السلوكي طبق خلال 30 جلسة، أظهرت نتائج الدراسة وجود فروق ذات دلالة إحصائية بين متوسطي درجات المجموعتين التجريبية والضابطة في القياس البعدي للمشكلات السلوكية والمهارات الاجتماعية لصالح المجموعة التجريبية، وجود فروق ذات دلالة إحصائية بين متوسطي درجات المجموعة التجريبية في القياسين القبلي والبعدي للمشكلات السلوكية والمهارات الاجتماعية لصالح القياس البعدي، عدم وجود فروق ذات دلالة إحصائية بين متوسطي درجات المجموعة التجريبية في القياسين البعدي والتتبعي (بعد شهرين من انتهاء البرنامج) للمشكلات السلوكية والمهارات الاجتماعية.
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Objective: Given the high population prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and overlapping symptoms with medically complex groups, ASD is a common rule out diagnosis for neuropsychologists even when not identified in the referral or initial presenting concerns. This paper presents practical guidance to support neuropsychologists in their ability to accurately assess, diagnose, and/or rule out ASD, especially in patients with more subtle presentations. Method: This paper combines clinical experience and empirical literature to highlight important assessment measures and related considerations, differential diagnostic considerations, common misconceptions about ASD and person/family characteristics, as well as variability in presentation and comorbidities that can obscure the diagnosis. Characteristics that may be considered “red flags” (clearly diagnostic, classic symptoms) and “pink flags” (associated features and symptoms that are suggestive of ASD but not quite definitive and that may overlap with symptoms seen in other neurodevelopmental or psychiatric diagnoses) will be discussed. Conclusions: Neuropsychologists in all clinical settings should be able to effectively screen for and/or diagnose ASD, even when its presentation is more subtle and/or when symptoms are masked by patient strengths in a way that makes their clinical presentation less obvious. Practical strategies for communicating the diagnosis and next steps/recommendations for interventions are reviewed.
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Joint attention, or sharing attention with another individual about an object or event, is a critical behaviour that emerges in pre-linguistic infants and predicts later language abilities. Given its importance, it is perhaps surprising that there is no consensus on how to measure joint attention in prelinguistic infants. A rigorous definition proposed by Siposova & Carpenter (2019) requires the infant and partner to gaze alternate between an object and each other (coordination of attention) and exchange communicative signals (explicit acknowledgement of jointly sharing attention). However, Hobson and Hobson (2007) proposed that the quality of gaze between individuals is, in itself, a sufficient communicative signal that demonstrates sharing of attention. They proposed that observers can reliably distinguish “sharing”, “checking”, and “orienting” looks, but the empirical basis for this claim is limited as their study focussed on two raters examining looks from 11-year-old children. Here, we analysed categorisations made by 32 naïve raters of 60 infant looks to their mothers, to examine whether they could be reliably distinguished according to Hobson and Hobson’s definitions. Raters had overall low agreement and only in 3 out of 26 cases did a significant majority of the raters agree with the judgement of the mother who had received the look. For the looks that raters did agree on at above chance levels, look duration and the overall communication rate of the mother were identified as cues that raters may have relied upon. In our experiment, naïve third party observers could not reliably determine the type of look infants gave to their mothers, which indicates that subjective judgements of types of look should not be used to identify mutual awareness of sharing attention in infants. Instead, we advocate the use of objective behaviour measurement to infer that interactants know they are ‘jointly’ attending to an object or event, and believe this will be a crucial step in understanding the ontogenetic and evolutionary origins of joint attention.
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Using observational methods, we examined the social influences on laughing and smiling behavior in children with Angelman syndrome by systematically manipulating aspects of social interaction. Seven boys and 4 girls who were between 4 and 11 years of age and who had a confirmed maternal deletion of chromosome 15q11-q13 completed the study. Each child was observed while repeatedly exposed to three conditions in which parameters of social interaction were manipulated. Laughing and smiling behavior varied across all children and was significantly heightened in a condition involving adult speech, touch, smiling, laughing, and eye contact. The findings highlight the importance of examining environmental and social influences on purported phenotypic behavior in genetic syndromes.
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[reviews] the research that suggests that JA [joint-attention] skill deficits [i.e., deficits of prelinguistic social communication skills] are an important characteristic of the early development of autistic children / [considers] a model that describes the interaction of affect and cognition in the development of JA and subsequent social cognitive deficits among autistic children / [presents] data on JA and pretend-play development (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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One reason for looking at a person's eyes may be to diagnose their goal, because a person's eye direction reliably specifies what they are likely to act upon next. We report an experiment that investigates whether or not young normal infants use eye contact for this function. We placed them in situations in which the adult's action toward them was either ambiguous or unambiguous in its goal. Results showed that the majority of normal infants and young children with mental handicap made instant eye contact immediately following the ambiguous action but rarely after the unambiguous action. Young children with autism, in contrast, made eye contact equally (little) in both conditions. These results are discussed in relation to the function of eye contact, to our understanding of infant cognition, and to the theory of mind hypothesis of autism.
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This study was designed to examine the degree to which individual differences in gestural joint attention skills predicted language development among autistic children. A group of 15 autistic children (mean CA=45 months) were matched with one group of mentally retarded (MR) children on mental age and another group of MR children on language age. These groups were administered the Early Social-Communication Scales. The latter provided measures of gestural requesting, joint attention, and social behaviors. The results indicated that, even when controlling for language level, mental age, or IQ, autistic children displayed deficits in gestural joint attention skills on two testing sessions that were 13 months apart. Furthermore, the measure of gestural nonverbal joint attention was a significant predictor of language development in the autistic sample. Other variables, including initial language level and IQ were not significant predictors of language development in this sample.
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Five experiments examined children's use of eye gaze information for "mind-reading" purposes, specifically, for inferring another person's desire. When presented with static displays in the first 3 experiments, only by 4 years of age did children use another person's eye direction to infer desires, although younger children could identify the person's focus of attention. Further, 3-year-olds were capable of inferring desire from other nonverbal cues, such as pointing (Experiment 3). When eye gaze was presented dynamically with several other scaffolding cues (Experiment 4), 2- and 3-year-olds successfully used eye gaze for desire inference. Scaffolding cues were removed in Experiment 5, and 2- and 3-year-olds still performed above chance in using eye gaze. Results suggest that 2-year-olds are capable of using eye gaze alone to infer about another's desire. The authors propose that the acquisition of the ability to use attentional cues to infer another's mental state may involve both an association process and a differentiation process.
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Studied interpersonal visual behavior of same-sex, approximately same-age Ss engaged in dyadic interaction during both a conversation and a construction task. 96 Ss were divided into 4 age groups: 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12 yr olds, and adults. Analyses of variance indicate significant age differences in amount of gazing during conversation for all 4 dependent variables; there was an increase from the 1st to the 2nd age group, a slight decrease at the 3rd age level, and an increase for adults. No age changes in gazing occurred during construction. Significant sex differences, with females gazing more than males, occurred only during conversation and for 2 dependent variables. Significantly more gazing was found during conversation than construction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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Does human cognitive development advance through a series of broad and general stages? If so, the child's mind at any point in its development should seem quite consistent and similar across situations in its maturity level and general style. That is, it should be relatively "homogeneous" rather than "heterogeneous" at any given age. There appear to be factors and considerations that make for both heterogeneity and homogeneity in the child's cognitive life. As to heterogeneity, many cognitive items (concepts, skills, etc.) may develop independently; they may not assist each other's development and there may be no common mediator to assist their codevelopment. Likewise, mental heterogeneity may occur because human beings have evolved to cope with certain cognitive tasks earlier or more easily than others. Intraindividual differences in aptitudes and experiences could also produce considerable heterogeneity. As to homogeneity, the child's information-processing capacity may impose an upper limit on how heterogeneous her mental level could be. There may also be more cognitive homogeneity (1) in the child's initial reaction to inputs than in her subsequent management of them; (2) at the beginning and end of an acquisitional sequence than in the middle of it; (3) in spontaneous, everyday cognition than in formal task or test situations; (4) in some cognitive domains than in others; (5) in some children than in others. It was concluded that cognitive development might appear more general-stage-like than many of us believed, if only we knew how and where to look.
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A cross-sectional, correlational study of 30 children, 3 to 5 years old, investigated relations between their theory of mind development and social interaction, controlling for age and general language ability. Children's overall performance on 4 standard false belief tasks was associated with their production of joint proposals and explicit role assignments during a 10 minute session of pretend play, False belief task performance was not associated with the child's total amount of pretend play or with a measure of empathic concern. We discuss the significance of an association between a laboratory measure of theory of mind development and children's behaviour observed in a naturalistic setting. We argue that the description and explanation of children's theory of mind and social understanding is best pursued through the combined efforts of experimenters and ethologists.
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Tested generalizations in eye contact from adults to children and developmental changes in gaze duration. 90 preschool, kindergarten, 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade children were interviewed by a college female, who was "blind" concerning the experimental hypotheses. Recordings of interviewer's and Ss' speech patterns, records of the intervals during which the S met the interviewer's constant gaze, and ratings of Ss on a scale of social and intellective characteristics were analyzed. Results support the hypothesis of differential patterns of eye communication for boys and girls. There was significantly more eye contact for females while speaking but not while listening. Analysis of variance for Eye Contact * Grade Level was significant for speaking, listening, and overall eye contact. Analysis of grade level differences indicated a significant peak in kindergarten and 2nd grades with a significant drop in the 5th grade. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Describes a method of teaching language to autistic children. A review is included of behavior modification work on language teaching and methods for building language and the data on how children learn language and speech. (41/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined differences between children with autism and control children in the ability to follow another person's direction of gaze. In Exp 1, 12 5.6–17.4 yr olds with autism, 11 Down syndrome 4.5–12.3 yr olds and 12 normal 5.6–5.9 yr olds were given 2 tasks. The gaze monitoring task (GMT) measured the Ss' spontaneous tendency to follow gaze direction in response to another person's change of head and eye movement. The visual perspective taking task (VPT) measured the S's ability to compute and report what the other person was looking at. Results show that the majority of Down syndrome and normal Ss passed both tasks. Ss with autism failed the GMT. This failure could not have been due to a lack of the relevant geometric skill, as they passed the VPT. This geometric skill was examined further in Exp 2, using a fine discrimination task which tested children's ability to discriminate degrees of change in the orientation of gaze. Children with autism were well within their developmental age level on this task. These results indicate a dissociation between (impaired) spontaneous monitoring and (intact) geometric analysis of gaze-direction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study involved observations of children's behaviors in interactive situations with both familiar and unfamiliar partners. The greatest differences between the autistic and nonautistic children were in an unstructured situation where caregivers did not initiate interactions. In this situation, autistic children rarely looked to the partner or initiated social bids to the partner. They also were less focused on the toys available for play compared to nonautistic children. However, the autistic children were similar in their interactive responses to the partner in an adult-initiated social situation. Individual differences confirmed that more able autistic children in terms of cognitive and language abilities also engaged in greater social and communicative behavior with the partner. These findings suggest that the ways in which social deficits are manifested by autistic children are variable with respect to the context in which they are measured.
Article
Normal toddlers infer the referent of a novel word by consulting the Speaker's direction of Gaze. That is, they use the Speaker's Direction of Gaze (SDG) strategy. This is a far more powerful strategy than the alternative, the Listener's Direction of Gaze (LDG) strategy. In Study 1 we tested if children with autism, who have well-documented impairments in joint attention, used the SDG or the LDG strategy to learn a novel word for a novel object. Results showed that although 70.6% of children with mental handicap passed the test by making the correct mapping between a novel word and a novel object, via the SDG strategy, only 29.4% of children with autism did so. Instead, their reliance on the LDG strategy led to mapping errors. In Study 2 a group of normal children, whose chronological age (24 months old) was eqated with the verbal mental age of the 2 clinical groups in Study I, was tested using a similar procedure. Results showed that 79% of this normal group passed the test by making the correct mapping between a novel word and a novel object using the SDG strategy. Taken together, the results from both studies suggest that children with autism are relatively insensitive to a speaker's gaze direction as an index of the speaker's intention to refer. This result is consistent with previous findings showing that children with autism are relatively “blind” to the mentalistic significance of the eyes. Discussion centers on how the absence of an SDG strategy might disrupt specific aspects of language development in autism.
Article
The prevalence, in children aged under 15, of severe impairments of social interaction, language abnormalities, and repetitive stereotyped behaviors was investigated in an area of London. A "socially impaired" group (more than half of whom were severely retarded) and a comparison group of "sociable severely mentally retarded" children were identified. Mutism or echolalia, and repetitive stereotyped behaviors were found in almost all the socially impaired children, but to a less marked extent in a minority of the sociable severely retarded. Certain organic conditions were found more often in the socially impaired group. A subgroup with a history of Kanner's early childhood autism could be identified reliably but shared many abnormalities with other socially impaired children. The relationships between mental retardation, typical autism, and other conditions involving social impairment were discussed, and a system of classification based on quality of social interaction was considered.
Article
Research on gaze and eye contact was organized within the framework of Patterson's (1982) sequential functional model of nonverbal exchange. Studies were reviewed showing how gaze functions to (a) provide information, (b) regulate interaction, (c) express intimacy, (d) exercise social control, and (e) facilitate service and task goals. Research was also summarized that describes personal, experiential, relational, and situational antecedents of gaze and reactions to gaze. Directions were given for a functional analysis of the relation between gaze and physiological responses. Attribution theories were integrated into the sequential model for making predictions about people's perceptions of their own gazing behavior and the gazing behavior of others. Data on people's accuracy in reporting their own and others' gaze were presented and integrated with related findings in attribution research. The sequential model was used to analyze research studies measuring the interaction between gaze and personal and contextual variables. Methodological and measurement issues were discussed and directions were outlined for future research.
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Two mute schizophrenic children were taught imitative speech within an operant conditioning framework. The training procedure consisted of a series of increasingly fine verbal discriminations; the children were rewarded for closer and closer reproductions of the attending adults' speech. We found that reward delivered contingent upon imitation was necessary for development of imitation. Furthermore, the newly established imitation was shown to have acquired rewarding properties for the children.
Article
This article reviews the research and clinical literature that has investigated the topography and functions of eye-to-face gaze in normal children and adults. These data and data from a recent pilot study are then compared to the criteria typically used in eye-contact training programs with autistic children. This comparison reveals some educationally relevant discrepancies between the normative data and the training criteria. The need to base educational interventions for autistic individuals on normative standards is discussed, and suggestions for future research are provided.
Article
Two children with autism were taught to engage in a variety of complex social behaviors using peer-implemented pivotal response training (PRT), a set of procedures designed to increase motivation and promote generalization. Typical peers were taught to implement PRT strategies by modeling, role playing, and didactic instruction. After training, peers implemented the procedures in the absence of direct supervision in a classroom environment. After the intervention, both children with autism maintained prolonged interactions with the peer, initiated play and conversations, and increased engagement in language and joint attention behaviors. In addition, teachers reported positive changes in social behavior, with the largest increases in peer-preferred social behavior. Further, these effects showed generality and maintenance. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Article
Through early interactional exchange, infants acquire relevant information about themselves, their caretaking persons, and the relationship between themselves and their caretakers. Mutual eye contact is a highly adaptive behavioural system in this respect. There are, however, infants who avoid maternal eye contact and refuse their caretakers' attention. Gaze aversion of this kind is only reported to occur in the first months of life. It is interpreted as a first manifestation of a specific interaction. The present longitudinal study presents evidence for developmental consequences of early eye contact patterns. Infants who avert their gaze from their parents in the first months of life develop maladaptive relationships in terms of interactional harmony within 2 years, low degrees of psychobiological functioning, behavioural problems, and developmental delays for up to 6 years, and, at 2 years of age, explore new objects by means of manipulation for only short amounts of time. Infants with the expected good eye contact behaviour at that early age appear to have a more favourable development during the preschool years.
Article
Normal toddlers infer the referent of a novel word by consulting the speaker's direction of gaze. That is, they use the Speaker's Direction of Gaze (SDG) strategy. This is a far more powerful strategy than the alternative, the Listener's Direction of Gaze (LDG) strategy. In Study 1 we tested if children with autism, who have well-documented impairments in joint attention, used the SDG or the LDG strategy to learn a novel word for a novel object. Results showed that although 70.6% of children with mental handicap passed the test by making the correct mapping between a novel word and a novel object, via the SDG strategy, only 29.4% of children with autism did so. Instead, their reliance on the LDG strategy led to mapping errors. In Study 2 a group of normal children, whose chronological age (24 months old) was equated with the verbal mental age of the 2 clinical groups in Study 1, was tested using a similar procedure. Results showed that 79% of this normal group passed the test by making the correct mapping between a novel word and a novel object using the SDG strategy. Taken together, the results from both studies suggest that children with autism are relatively insensitive to a speaker's gaze direction as an index of the speaker's intention to refer. This result is consistent with previous findings showing that children with autism are relatively "blind" to the mentalistic significance of the eyes. Discussion centers on how the absence of an SDG strategy might disrupt specific aspects of language development in autism.
Theory of mind development and social understanding Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of mind Do children with autism use the speaker's direction of gaze strategy to crack the code of language
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Applied behavior analysis
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Autism and mental retardation
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Asperger syndrome: Some guidelines for assessment, diagnosis, and intervention
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