The Role of Face Familiarity in Eye Tracking of Faces by
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
It has been shown that individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) demonstrate normal activation in the fusiform gyrus when viewing familiar, but not unfamiliar faces. The current study utilized eye tracking to investigate patterns of attention underlying familiar versus unfamiliar face processing in ASD. Eye movements of 18 typically developing participants and 17 individuals with ASD were recorded while passively viewing three face categories: unfamiliar non-repeating faces, a repeating highly familiar face, and a repeating previously unfamiliar face. Results suggest that individuals with ASD do not exhibit more normative gaze patterns when viewing familiar faces. A second task assessed facial recognition accuracy and response time for familiar and novel faces. The groups did not differ on accuracy or reaction times.