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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • gender discrimination;
  • face perception;
  • facial features

Abstract

Evidence remains mixed about whether individuals with autism look less to eyes and whether they look more at mouths. Few studies have examined how spontaneous attention to facial features relates to face processing abilities. This study tested the ability to discriminate gender from facial features, namely eyes and mouths, by comparing accuracy scores of 17 children with autism and 15 adults with autism to 17 typically developing children and 15 typically developing adults. Results indicated that all participants regardless of diagnosis discriminated gender more accurately from eyes than from mouths. However, results indicated that compared to adults without autism, adults with autism were significantly worse at discriminating gender from eyes.