Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2018

Document Type

Thesis (699 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in School Psychology

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Nawrot

Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Eye Tracking, Inverted, Blurred Face, Social, Nonsocial

Abstract

The push for early identification and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has led to new developments in this area of research. Eye tracking is a promising behavioral screening measure that has been heavily investigated for over a decade. Differences in eye gaze between typically developing (TD) children and children with ASD when viewing social and nonsocial videos have been observed, but only within videos of children playing as social stimuli and with geometric shapes as nonsocial stimuli (Pierce et al., 2016; Shaffer et al., 2017). In addition to social stimuli and geometric shapes, the current study expanded on previous research by including nonsocial inverted and blurred videos as stimuli. Participants were 15 TD children, ages 8 months to 5 years, and two children with ASD, ages 3 months and 3 years old. Each child was observed through a Tobii eye tracking system as they watched eight consecutive 10 second videos with video clips alternating between social and nonsocial conditions (geometric, inverted, or blurred). The two children with ASD looked for a similar amount of time and with a similar number of saccades for each video type; the same was also true within the TD children condition. The absence of a difference in looking time and saccade number calls into question what really accounted for the difference in gaze patterns found in the previous research. Further examination into the use of eye tracking as a screening measure must be conducted before a fully implementable measure is established.

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