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Durham Research Online
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The use of eye-tracking to explore social difficulties in cognitively able students with autism spectrum disorder : a pilot investigation.

Hanley, M. and Riby, D.M. and Carty, C. and Melaugh McAteer, A. and Kennedy, A. and McPhillips, M. (2015) 'The use of eye-tracking to explore social difficulties in cognitively able students with autism spectrum disorder : a pilot investigation.', Autism., 19 (7). pp. 868-873.

Abstract

in understanding the social world. Even for those who are cognitively able, autism-related difficulties continue into adulthood. Atypicalities attending to and interpreting communicative signals from others can provide barriers to success in education, employment and relationships. In the current study, we use eye-tracking during real social interaction to explore attention to social cues (e.g. face, eyes, mouth) and links to social awareness in a group of cognitively able University students with autism spectrum disorder and typically developing students from the same University. During the interaction, students with autism spectrum disorder showed less eye fixation and more mouth fixation than typically developing students. Importantly, while 63% of typically developing participants reported thinking they were deceived about the true nature of the interaction, only 9% of autism spectrum disorder participants picked up this subtle social signal. We argue that understanding how these social attentional and social awareness difficulties manifest during adulthood is important given the growing number of adults with autism spectrum disorder who are attending higher level education. These adults may be particularly susceptible to drop-out due to demands of coping in situations where social awareness is so important.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Autism spectrum disorders, Eye-tracking, High functioning, Social attention, Social awareness, Social interaction
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362361315580767
Publisher statement:Hanley, M. and Riby, D.M. and Carty, C. and Melaugh McAteer, A. and Kennedy, A. and McPhillips, M. (2015) 'The use of eye-tracking to explore social difficulties in cognitively able students with autism spectrum disorder : a pilot investigation.', Autism., 19 (7). pp. 868-873. Copyright © 2015 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
Date accepted:16 March 2015
Date deposited:07 September 2015
Date of first online publication:06 May 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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