Grants awarded

Temporal aspects of gaze perception in autism

Grantholder:

Dr Aurelio Bruno

University of York

United Kingdom

Our ability to estimate the duration of brief gaze exchanges is central to many social interactions. For example, the duration of eye contact between two people at a party could signal mutual interest. Changes in the context and the people involved or in gaze duration could convey a completely different social meaning, such as threat. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties exploring faces and appropriately reciprocating eye contact. While their impaired performance in judging gaze direction has been extensively reported, the way they perceive gaze duration has not yet been explored. 

We will investigate the temporal aspects of gaze interactions in ASD and neurotypical participants. Analysing their gaze duration estimates and exploring their brain correlates might lead to a new theoretical framework for the study and treatment of this and other conditions involving impaired social interactions.