Vol. 23:1 (2022) ► pp.89–115
Social gaze training for Autism Spectrum Disorder using eye-tracking and virtual humans
Background: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have pronounced difficulties in attending to relevant visual information during social interactions. Method: We designed and evaluated the feasibility of a novel method to train this ability, by exposing participants to virtual human characters displayed on a screen which was entirely blurred, except for a gaze-contingent viewing window that followed participants’ eyes direction. The goal was to incite participants to direct their gaze towards the facial expressions of the virtual characters. Twenty-one adolescents with ASD who attended ordinary school were randomized to either an experimental group, who was trained during a month and a half, or to a control group. Social communicative abilities were assessed during pre, post and follow-up tests. Results: After training, the experimental group showed significantly more interest in facial expressions on a test which involved understanding a dialogue. Significant differences were not found for the other tests used. Conclusions: This outcome suggests that the training method fostered participants’ awareness of the relevance of facial expressions.
- 2.3.1Experimental training material
- 2.3.2Control training material
- 2.3.3Measuring instruments