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We report evidence for a relationship in the general population between self-reported autism-associated traits and the spontaneous reciprocation of direct gaze, a behavior that we propose may reflect a tendency to synchronize with social partners. Adults viewed videos of actors whose gaze was either directed towards or averted from them. Individuals with lower scores on four subscales of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scale showed a greater tendency to look at directed relative to averted eyes; individuals with higher scores on the AQ did not. This relationship was specific to autism-associated traits and to gaze towards the eyes; it did not generalize to a social anxiety measure or to gaze towards the mouth. We discuss implications for our understanding of the broader autism phenotype.
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- Brief Report: Broader Autism Phenotype Predicts Spontaneous Reciprocity of Direct Gaze
Frances S. Chen
Jennifer M. D. Yoon
- Springer US