This post is the first in a new series that covers the correlation between eye tracking and neurological disorders.
Scientists have been using eye tracking technology for a while now, and it seems like it’s working really well!
Sensory hypersensitivity is one of many symptoms that a child with autism experiences. Stimuli bombard the brain, causing excessive eye movement, and a new study finds that these movements can be an early indicator of autistic symptoms. You can find the full article here.
The study, performed at the Medical Research Council in the UK, determined that children with a low risk of autism moved their eyes about two times every second, while those with a high risk moved them three times per second.
Lead author Dr. Sam Wass cautioned in a press release that in no way does eye movement guarantee a child will develop autism. “We are still at a very early stage in understanding what these results may mean. Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can sometimes process visual information more rapidly than other people, and perhaps that was happening for infants in our study.”
The scientists used eye-tracking technology to look at eye movements in about 100 aged 6 to 10 months. While hooked to the eye tracker, the researchers showed the children five images — a face, mobile phone, bird, car, and a scrambled face — and looked at how engaged they became with the images. Three years later, they followed up with the kids to see who had met the criteria for an ASD diagnosis, and found those with more frequent eye movements at higher risk (click here for more)
This article relays that the study is in its early stages, but is a clear indicator that the use of eye-tracking technology is imperative in diagnosing and treating autism as early as possible. This is clear proof that the eyes really are a window to the brain.
Hat tip to our stellar summer intern Jacob, who kindly took time off of mending chicken wire to research and write this post.