Difference in visual social predispositions between newborns at low- and high-risk for autism

Di Giorgio, Elisa and Frasnelli, Elisa and Rosa Salva, Orsola and Luisa Scattoni, Maria and Puopolo, Maria and Tosoni, Daniela and Apicella, Fabio and Gagliano, Antonella and Guzzetta, Andrea and Molteni, Massimo and Persico, Antonio and Pioggia, Giovanni and Valeri, Giovanni and Vicari, Stefano and Simion, Francesca and Vallortigara, Giorgio (2016) Difference in visual social predispositions between newborns at low- and high-risk for autism. Scientific Reports, 6 (1). p. 26395. ISSN 2045-2322

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1038/srep26395

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Abstract

Some key behavioural traits of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been hypothesized to be due to
impairments in the early activation of subcortical orienting mechanisms, which in typical development
bias newborns to orient to relevant social visual stimuli. A challenge to testing this hypothesis is that
autism is usually not diagnosed until a child is at least 3 years old. Here, we circumvented this difficulty
by studying for the very first time, the predispositions to pay attention to social stimuli in newborns
with a high familial risk of autism. Results showed that visual preferences to social stimuli strikingly
differed between high-risk and low-risk newborns. Significant predictors for high-risk newborns
were obtained and an accurate biomarker was identified. The results revealed early behavioural
characteristics of newborns with familial risk for ASD, allowing for a prospective approach to the
emergence of autism in early infancy.

Keywords:social predisposition, newborns, autism, social stimuli
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B140 Neuroscience
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:30133
Deposited On:19 Feb 2018 10:39

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