Atypical monitoring and responsiveness to goal-directed gaze in autism spectrum disorder Academic Article uri icon


  • We hypothesized that difficulty in understanding the goals of others' actions in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be linked to a diminished attention and responsivity to relevant social cues. Using an eye-tracking paradigm, we investigated how 24 children with ASD and 24 matched children without ASD responded to the observation of uncompleted actions without a clear target (neutral condition) versus a condition in which the actor's gaze direction indicated the target of the actions (head-turning condition). Children without ASD significantly increased their attention to the actor's face and to the action's target in the head-turning condition compared to the neutral condition, while this was not the case in the ASD group. Overall, our findings suggest a diminished monitoring and responsivity to social cues signalling goal-directedness, which might impact on the ability to understand other's action goals in young children with ASD.

publication date

  • 2014