Although children with autism often fail follow the gaze of others in natural situations they are sensitive to directional cues by eye movements. This suggests that the low-level aspects of gaze cueing and are intact in persons with autism, while the higher level social skills like joint attention and attribution of desire and intention are impaired. The present study investigates whether these low-level aspects of gaze cueing are indeed intact. Children with high functioning ASD (n = 22) and matched controls (n = 22) performed two choice reaction time tasks in which eye- or arrow direction correctly (congruent) or incorrectly (incongruent) cues target location. In children with normal development right side cueing, but not left side cueing, induced a congruence effect for eyes, while this cueing effect was evident for right and left side cueing for arrow cues. In children with ASD left side cueing, but not right side cueing, induced a congruence effect for eyes while right sight cueing, but not left side cueing, provoked a congruence effect for arrow cues. These findings indicate that children with ASD have functional, but atypical, low-level visual orienting to eye gaze and arrow cues. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Stauder, J. E. A., Bosch, C. P. A., & Nuij, H. A. M. (2011). Atypical visual orienting to eye gaze and arrow cues in children with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(2), 742-748. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2010.08.008