Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have pronounced difficulties in attending to relevant visual information during social interactions. We designed and evaluated the feasibility of a novel method to train this ability, by exposing participants to virtual human characters displayed on a screen which was entirely blurred, except for a gaze-contingent viewing window that followed participants’ eyes direction. The goal was to incite participants to direct their gaze towards the facial expressions of the virtual characters. Twenty-one adolescents with ASD who attended ordinary school were randomized to either an experimental group, who was trained during a month and a half, or to a control group. Social communicative abilities were assessed during pre, post and follow-up tests. After training, the experimental group showed significantly more interest in facial expressions on a test which involved understanding a dialogue. Significant differences were not found for the other tests used. This outcome suggests that the training method fostered participants’ awareness of the relevance of facial expressions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Autism; eye-tracking; gaze-contingent; social cognition; training

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