By Emma Innes
Babies who look away from a person’s face when being spoken to may be more likely to develop autism, scientists have revealed.
Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine used eye-tracking technology which maps where a baby has been focusing.
They discovered babies who went on to develop autism spectrum disorders (ASD) looked at the face less than other babies.
When shown a face that was speaking, they also looked away from key facial features such as the eyes and mouth.
For the research, six-month-olds were shown videos of still, smiling, and speaking faces and their reactions were tracked.
The infants were later assessed at the age of three and divided into groups based on whether they had ASD, other developmental delays, or normal developmen.
Lead researcher Dr Frederick Shic said: ‘From birth, infants naturally show a preference for human contact and interaction, including faces and voices.
‘These basic predispositions to social stimuli are altered in individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
‘These results suggest that the presence of speech disrupts typical attentional processing of faces in those infants later diagnosed with ASD. Continue reading