Infant Attention to Mouth During Expressive and Still-Face Trials



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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder linked to social communication challenges. ASD is not typically diagnosed until a child is 6 years old, creating a critical gap in early intervention opportunities. Recent eye-tracking research has revealed that infant gaze behaviors may be a promising predictor of later ASD symptom severity and vocabulary development. However, gaze behaviors are extensively studied in the context of viewing a computer screen. The purpose of the proposed study is to explore the relation within a social interactive context where parents' active interaction is expected. The proposed longitudinal study aims to determine whether an infant's attention to parent's mouth at 18 months during two different trials (expressive face and “still-face”) can predict ASD symptom severity and vocabulary development at 30 months. Once the study completes, the results will be useful in the development of "home" evaluations and parent-mediated training.