Skin conductance responses to another person's gaze in children with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2006 May;36(4):517-25. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0091-4.


The effects of another person's gaze on physiological arousal were investigated by measuring skin conductance responses (SCR). Twelve able children with autism and 12 control children were shown face stimuli with straight gaze (eye contact) or averted gaze on a computer monitor. In children with autism, the responses to straight gaze were stronger than responses to averted gaze, whereas there was no difference in the responses to these gaze conditions in normally developing children. Thus, these results showed that eye gaze elicited differential pattern of SCR in normally developing children and in children with autism. It is possible that the enhanced arousal to eye contact may contribute to the abnormal gaze behaviour frequently reported in the context of autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular*
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Visual Perception*