Automatic Attention Cueing Through Eye Movement in 2-Year-Old Children With Autism



Automatic attention cueing by perceived changes in gaze direction was studied in 2-year-old children with autism and typically developing (TD) controls using a visual attention cueing paradigm. In Experiments 1 and 2 the cue consisted of an eye movement (Eyes) and a nonbiological movement (SimEyes), respectively. The results suggest that visual attention in children with autism and their TD counterparts is cued by perceived eye movement. Thus, although in naturalistic situations toddlers with autism do not follow the gaze of others, they are sensitive to directional cues inherent in eye movement. Cue-specific differences in performance related to the level of engagement and cue-processing time may suggest reliance on different underlying strategies for gaze processing in autism.