In an interesting 2008 study, Vivanti and Rogers ruled out both motor impairment and following the task as reasons why children with autism have difficulty in an imitation task. One finding that could be important is that the study participants with autism spent less time looking at the face. This leads to the interesting idea that learning to better read emotions, an important component of social interactions, might also improve imitation, which is another key component of social interactions:
We can now quantitatively test our hypothesis that FaceSay increases attention to the area around the eyes in interactions with other people! After months of pilot testing, Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham recently placed an order for a an eye tracking system that is ideal for unobtrusively measuring where the study participant is looking when interacting with another person. Attention to the eyes - which does not necessarily equate to eye contact - is thought to be important for reading emotions and possibly imitation, both of which are key components of social interactions.
Click on a category below to find news relevant to you.