Using eye movements as an index of implicit face recognition in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Darren Hedley, Robyn Young, Neil Brewer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically show impairment on face recognition tasks. Performance has usually been assessed using overt, explicit recognition tasks. Here, a complementary method involving eye tracking was used to examine implicit face recognition in participants with ASD and in an intelligence quotient-matched non-ASD control group. Differences in eye movement indices between target and foil faces were used as an indicator of implicit face recognition. Explicit face recognition was assessed using old-new discrimination and reaction time measures. Stimuli were faces of studied (target) or unfamiliar (foil) persons. Target images at test were either identical to the images presented at study or altered by changing the lighting, pose, or by masking with visual noise. Participants with ASD performed worse than controls on the explicit recognition task. Eye movement-based measures, however, indicated that implicit recognition may not be affected to the same degree as explicit recognition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-379
    Number of pages17
    JournalAutism Research
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


    • Asperger syndrome
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Eye movement-based memory effect
    • Face perception
    • Face recognition


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