Eye-Tracking Technology: A Closer Look at Eye-Tracking Paradigms with High-Risk Populations

Eye-Tracking Technology: A Closer Look at Eye-Tracking Paradigms with High-Risk Populations

Chandni Parikh (University of Arizona, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1005-5.ch014


Eye movements and gaze direction have been utilized to make inferences about perception and cognition since the 1800s. The driving factor behind recording overt eye movements stem from the fundamental idea that one's gaze provides tremendous insight into the information processing that takes place early on during development. One of the key deficits seen in individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) involves eye gaze and social attention processing. The current chapter focuses on the use of eye-tracking technology with high-risk infants who are siblings of children diagnosed with ASD in order to highlight potential bio-behavioral markers that can inform the ascertainment of red flags and atypical behaviors associated with ASD within the first few years of development.
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The motivation behind recording one’s eye movements stem from the fact that one’s gaze provides a tremendous insight into the visualization patterns and informational processing that goes above and beyond basic behavioral observations (Aslin & McMurray, 2004; Duchowski, 2007). Due to the fact that eye movements are a bidirectional influence of cognitive and perceptual processes, tools that allow for tracking of multiple simultaneous psychological processes can be powerful in understanding phenotypic behaviors and their associated underlying mechanisms (Boraston & Blakemore, 2007; Mele & Federici, 2012). More specifically, the process of observational learning and interpreting relevant information from social environments requires not only the physical eye movements that constitute looking (Jones, Carr, & Klin, 2008), but it also involves coordinating attention and other neural structures involved in prioritizing incoming social cues (von Hofsten, Dahlström, & Fredriksson, 2005). The simultaneous development of the eye movement systems and the general arousal system results in a synchrony that allows for specified attention and subsequent eye movement control (Richards & Holley, 1999). For example, from early on, the direction of an individual’s eye gaze provides indication of not only what the individual is focusing on, but also the subtle shifts in gaze direction indicate a change in this attention, allowing eye-gaze to serve as a fundamental ostensive cue in social referencing (Happé & Frith, 2014; Senju & Csibra, 2008).

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