ERIC Number: EJ836888
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Visual Orienting in the Early Broader Autism Phenotype: Disengagement and Facilitation
Elsabbagh, Mayada; Volein, Agnes; Holmboe, Karla; Tucker, Leslie; Csibra, Gergely; Baron-Cohen, Simon; Bolton, Patrick; Charman, Tony; Baird, Gillian; Johnson, Mark H.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, v50 n5 p637-642 May 2009
Background: Recent studies of infant siblings of children diagnosed with autism have allowed for a prospective approach to examine the emergence of symptoms and revealed behavioral differences in the broader autism phenotype within the early years. In the current study we focused on a set of functions associated with visual attention, previously reported to be atypical in autism. Method: We compared performance of a group of 9-10-month-old infant siblings of children with autism to a control group with no family history of autism on the "gap-overlap task", which measures the cost of disengaging from a central stimulus in order to fixate a peripheral one. Two measures were derived on the basis of infants' saccadic reaction times. The first is the "Disengagement" effect, which measures the efficiency of disengaging from a central stimulus to orient to a peripheral one. The second was a "Facilitation" effect, which arises when the infant is cued by a temporal gap preceding the onset of the peripheral stimulus, and would orient faster after its onset. Results and conclusion: Infant siblings of children with autism showed longer Disengagement latencies as well as less Facilitation relative to the control group. The findings are discussed in relation to how differences in visual attention may relate to characteristics observed in autism and the broader phenotype.
Descriptors: Autism, Infants, Siblings, Control Groups, Attention, Visual Perception, Comparative Analysis, Measurement, Reaction Time
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A