Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 8, pp 2618–2623 | Cite as

Brief Report: Infants Developing with ASD Show a Unique Developmental Pattern of Facial Feature Scanning

  • M. D. Rutherford
  • Jennifer A. Walsh
  • Vivian Lee
Brief report


Infants are interested in eyes, but look preferentially at mouths toward the end of the first year, when word learning begins. Language delays are characteristic of children developing with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We measured how infants at risk for ASD, control infants, and infants who later reached ASD criterion scanned facial features. Development differed across groups. The preference for the eyes region decreased with age in infants who were at risk of ASD. For the control group the change in feature preference was marginally significant for a quadratic model, reflecting a decrease in the preference for eyes at 9 months followed by a recovery. The infants who later reached ASD criterion did not show a significant change across time.


Face scanning Autism Language development 



This research was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant awarded to M.D. Rutherford


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Rutherford
    • 1
  • Jennifer A. Walsh
    • 1
  • Vivian Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and BehaviourMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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