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Eye tracking young children with autism.

Authors
  • Sasson, Noah J
  • Elison, Jed T
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Visualized Experiments
Publisher
MyJoVE Corporation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2012
Issue
61
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3791/3675
PMID: 22491039
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The rise of accessible commercial eye-tracking systems has fueled a rapid increase in their use in psychological and psychiatric research. By providing a direct, detailed and objective measure of gaze behavior, eye-tracking has become a valuable tool for examining abnormal perceptual strategies in clinical populations and has been used to identify disorder-specific characteristics, promote early identification, and inform treatment. In particular, investigators of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have benefited from integrating eye-tracking into their research paradigms. Eye-tracking has largely been used in these studies to reveal mechanisms underlying impaired task performance and abnormal brain functioning, particularly during the processing of social information. While older children and adults with ASD comprise the preponderance of research in this area, eye-tracking may be especially useful for studying young children with the disorder as it offers a non-invasive tool for assessing and quantifying early-emerging developmental abnormalities. Implementing eye-tracking with young children with ASD, however, is associated with a number of unique challenges, including issues with compliant behavior resulting from specific task demands and disorder-related psychosocial considerations. In this protocol, we detail methodological considerations for optimizing research design, data acquisition and psychometric analysis while eye-tracking young children with ASD. The provided recommendations are also designed to be more broadly applicable for eye-tracking children with other developmental disabilities. By offering guidelines for best practices in these areas based upon lessons derived from our own work, we hope to help other investigators make sound research design and analysis choices while avoiding common pitfalls that can compromise data acquisition while eye-tracking young children with ASD or other developmental difficulties.

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