Eye movements in autism spectrum disorder

Valerie Benson*, Sue Fletcher-Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term encompassing a range of developmental conditions principally characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication. It is unclear to what extent the social difficulties experienced by people with ASD result from differences in sampling the social environment, or differences in interpreting the information sampled, or both. In addition, perceptual and attentional atypicalities are common in the disorder. This chapter reviews how eye tracking has been used to explore all of these issues. We organize the literature into sections covering low-level eye-movement characteristics; perception of complex stimuli; and processing of, and attention to social information. The heterogeneity of the disorder, changes across development, and the effect of general ability and linguistic level all impact upon findings. We interpret the studies reviewed in terms of these effects and link findings to theoretical accounts of autism, as well as considering the future of eye-movement research in ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743665
ISBN (Print)9780199539789
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2012


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Complex stimuli
  • Eye movement
  • Perceptual process
  • Visual sampling


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