Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1184–1186 | Cite as

Brief Report: Eye Direction Detection Improves with Development in Autism

  • Simon Webster
  • Douglas D. Potter
Brief Report


Eye direction detection has been claimed to be intact in autism, but the development of this skill has not been investigated. Eleven children with autism and 11 typically developing children performed a demanding face-to-face eye direction detection task. Younger children with autism demonstrated a deficit in this skill, relative to younger control participants. Older children with autism were as accurate as older control participants on this task. In autism, eye direction detection is deficient in late childhood but is typically accurate by adolescence. The implications of this finding for models of social cognitive development in autism are considered.


Gaze perception Development Autism 



We thank all who participated in this research. We particularly thank staff and pupils at: Bannerman High School, Glasgow; Broxburn Primary School; Coupar Angus Primary School; Dyce Academy; Glenburn School, Greenock; Govan High School; and Hillpark Secondary School, Glasgow. This research was funded by The Robertson Trust and The Hugh Fraser Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland, UK

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