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Social attention patterns of autistic and non-autistic adults when viewing real vs. reel people.

Lopez, B., Gregory, N. J. and Freeth, M., 2023. Social attention patterns of autistic and non-autistic adults when viewing real vs. reel people. Autism. (In Press)

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13623613231162156.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1177/13623613231162156


Early research shows that autistic adults do not attend to faces as much as non-autistic adults. However, some recent studies where autistic people are placed in scenarios with real people reveal that they attend to faces as much as non-autistic people. This study compares attention to faces in two situations. In one, autistic and non-autistic adults watched a pre-recorded video. In the other, they watched what they thought were two people in a room in the same building, via a life webcam, when in fact exactly the same video in two situations. We report the results of 32 autistic adults and 33 non-autistic adults. The results showed that autistic adults do not differ in any way from non-autistic adults when they watched what they believed was people interacting in real time. However, when they thought they were watching a video, non-autistic participants showed higher levels of attention to faces than non-autistic participants. We conclude that attention to social stimuli is the result of a combination of two processes. One innate, which seems to be different in autism, and one that is influenced by social norms, which works in the same way in autistic adults without learning disabilities. The results suggest that social attention is not as different in autism as first thought. Specifically, the study contributes to dispel long-standing deficit models regarding social attention in autism as it points to subtle differences in the use of social norms rather than impairments.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:autism; ecological validity; eye-tracking; social attention
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:38364
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:05 Apr 2023 11:27
Last Modified:05 Apr 2023 11:27


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