Impaired Eye Region Search Accuracy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

John R. Pruett, Sarah Hoertel, John N. Constantino, Angela LaMacchia Moll, Kelly McVey, Emma Squire, Eric Feczko, Daniel J. Povinelli, Steven E. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

To explore mechanisms underlying reduced fixation of eyes in autism, children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and typically developing children were tested in five visual search experiments: simple color feature; color-shape conjunction; face in non-face objects; mouth region; and eye region. No group differences were found for reaction time profile shapes in any of the five experiments, suggesting intact basic search mechanics in children with ASD. Contrary to early reports in the literature, but consistent with other more recent findings, we observed no superiority for conjunction search in children with ASD. Importantly, children with ASD did show reduced accuracy for eye region search (p =. 005), suggesting that eyes contribute less to high-level face representations in ASD or that there is an eye region-specific disruption to attentional processes engaged by search in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58167
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 14 2013
Externally publishedYes

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