We use mobile eye tracking to investigate eye movements both from the perspective of visual attention and from an interactional perspective. Children with autism and their typically developing peers wear mobile eye tracking glasses when engaged in group tasks during their school days.
We are interested in, from a quantitative perspective, where, how long and how often children allocate their visual attention during the tasks and interactions. Previous research has found differences between children with autism and typically developing children in how they look at for instance other people and objects. However, as majority of previous studies have been conducted in laboratory settings, little is still known about gaze behaviours in more naturalistic environments.
From a qualitative perspective, we examine how children use their gaze as an interactional resource in these interactions. Gaze can be considered as one of the key interactional resources among for example talk, gestures and facial expressions. Gaze can be used for initiating and responsive actions and, for instance, on asking a question, one can shift her gaze to the recipient to communicate that a response is expected. Previous studies have shown that individuals with autism use their gaze for various interactional tasks (ks. esim. Dindar, Korkiakangas, Laitila & Kärnä, 2017; Korkiakangas, 2018). Yet more research is needed to understand possible differences between children with autism and their typically developing peers in the interactional use of gaze. Such research can also inform on how to better identify and support the use of such subtle interactional resources.
Dindar, K., Korkiakangas, T., Laitila, A., & Kärnä, E. (2017). An interactional “live eye tracking” study in autism spectrum disorder: combining qualitative and quantitative approaches in the study of gaze. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 14(3), 239-265.
Korkiakangas, T. (2018). Communication, gaze and autism: A multimodal interaction perspective. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.