Functional Adaptive Behaviors Are Associated with Gaze Fixation Duration When Viewing Social Video in Young Adults with ASD

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 2, 2019: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
M. Hochhauser1 and O. Grynszpan2, (1)Ariel University, Ariel, Israel, (2)LIMSI CNRS UPR3251, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France
Background: Eye gaze tracking (EGT) studies in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have shown associations between visual attention and social cognition, however, less is known about the relationship between visual attention measured in laboratory experiment and adaptive behaviors in everyday life.

Objectives: To investigate the associations between functional adaptive behaviors of ASD young adults with their gaze fixation duration on human faces when viewing social scenarios.

Methods: Nineteen young adults with ASD and 21 matched controls participated in an EGT study. They viewed 6 video vignettes portraying social conflict between 2 characters and were asked to describe the scene. Their narrations were analyzed to compute the ratio of mental verbs to action verbs. Thereafter the participants completed the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS) questionnaire.

Results: Adaptive performance in the ten behavior composites of the ABAS (e.g. Communication, Leisure and Social skills, Community Use, and Self-Care) was significantly lower in the ASD group compared to controls. Additionally, less adaptive behavioral composites were associated with reduced fixation duration on speaking characters when viewing social scenarios and reduced use of mental verbs when describing the social scenarios.

Conclusions: EGT holds promise as a non-invasive and quantitative evaluation instrument that is associated with social cognition and adaptive behavior in young adults with ASD. EGT might help to determine behavioral adaptive outcomes in clinical trials investigating functional interventions for young adults with ASD.