Despite an increasing interest in detecting early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the pathogenesis of the social impairments characterizing ASD is still largely unknown. Atypical visual attention to social stimuli is a potential early marker of the social and communicative deficits of ASD. Some authors hypothesized that such impairments are present from birth, leading to a decline in the subsequent typical functioning of the learning-mechanisms. Others suggested that these early deficits emerge during the transition from subcortically to cortically mediated mechanisms, happening around 2–3 months of age. The present study aimed to provide additional evidence on the origin of the early visual attention disturbance that seems to characterize infants at high risk (HR) for ASD. Four visual preference tasks were used to investigate social attention in 4-month-old HR, compared to low-risk (LR) infants of the same age. Visual attention differences between HR and LR infants emerged only for stimuli depicting a direct eye-gaze, compared to an adverted eye-gaze. Specifically, HR infants showed a significant visual preference for the direct eye-gaze stimulus compared to LR infants, which may indicate a delayed development of the visual preferences normally observed at birth in typically developing infants. No other differences were found between groups. Results are discussed in the light of the hypotheses on the origins of early social visual attention impairments in infants at risk for ASD.

Abnormal visual attention to simple social stimuli in 4-month-old infants at high risk for Autism / Di Giorgio, Elisa; Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Frasnelli, Elisa; Calcagnì, Antonio; Lunghi, Marco; Scattoni, Maria Luisa; Simion, Francesca; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:1(2021), pp. 15785.1-15785.11. [10.1038/s41598-021-95418-4]

Abnormal visual attention to simple social stimuli in 4-month-old infants at high risk for Autism

Di Giorgio, Elisa;Rosa-Salva, Orsola;Frasnelli, Elisa;Calcagnì, Antonio;Scattoni, Maria Luisa;Simion, Francesca;Vallortigara, Giorgio
2021

Abstract

Despite an increasing interest in detecting early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the pathogenesis of the social impairments characterizing ASD is still largely unknown. Atypical visual attention to social stimuli is a potential early marker of the social and communicative deficits of ASD. Some authors hypothesized that such impairments are present from birth, leading to a decline in the subsequent typical functioning of the learning-mechanisms. Others suggested that these early deficits emerge during the transition from subcortically to cortically mediated mechanisms, happening around 2–3 months of age. The present study aimed to provide additional evidence on the origin of the early visual attention disturbance that seems to characterize infants at high risk (HR) for ASD. Four visual preference tasks were used to investigate social attention in 4-month-old HR, compared to low-risk (LR) infants of the same age. Visual attention differences between HR and LR infants emerged only for stimuli depicting a direct eye-gaze, compared to an adverted eye-gaze. Specifically, HR infants showed a significant visual preference for the direct eye-gaze stimulus compared to LR infants, which may indicate a delayed development of the visual preferences normally observed at birth in typically developing infants. No other differences were found between groups. Results are discussed in the light of the hypotheses on the origins of early social visual attention impairments in infants at risk for ASD.
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Di Giorgio, Elisa; Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Frasnelli, Elisa; Calcagnì, Antonio; Lunghi, Marco; Scattoni, Maria Luisa; Simion, Francesca; Vallortigara, Giorgio
Abnormal visual attention to simple social stimuli in 4-month-old infants at high risk for Autism / Di Giorgio, Elisa; Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Frasnelli, Elisa; Calcagnì, Antonio; Lunghi, Marco; Scattoni, Maria Luisa; Simion, Francesca; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - ELETTRONICO. - 11:1(2021), pp. 15785.1-15785.11. [10.1038/s41598-021-95418-4]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/322061
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