Effects of labeling and pointing on object gaze in boys with fragile X syndrome: An eye-tracking study

David P. Benjamin, Ann M. Mastergeorge, Andrea S. McDuffie, Sara T. Kover, Randi J. Hagerman, Leonard Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We examined the visual processing of a social learning stimulus and the ways in which visual attention was distributed to objects as well as to the examiner's face during word learning under conditions that varied only in the presence or absence of a label. The goal of the current study, then, was to evaluate the effects of differentially providing pointing and labeling during exposure to a novel target object in males with fragile X syndrome (FXS) (n= 14, ages 4.33-10.02), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n= 17, ages 4.04-10.4), or typical development (TD) (n= 18, ages 2.05-5.33). In particular, the present study examined attention to the examiner's face as well as target and distracter objects that were presented as video stimuli. An eye-tracker captured gaze to the video stimuli as they were shown in order to examine the way in which children with FXS, ASD, or TD distributed their gaze toward the examiner and the objects. Results indicated that no group showed increased gaze toward the target object compared to the distracter object. However, results revealed that participants with FXS showed significantly increased face gaze compared to the novel objects, whereas children with ASD and TD both showed similar amounts of relative gaze toward the face and objects. Furthermore, the act of pointing at the target object was found to increase gaze toward the target objects compared to when there was no pointing in all groups. Together, these findings suggest that social cues like those employed in a word-learning task, when presented with video, may relate to gaze in FXS in context- or task-dependent ways that are distinct from those expected during live interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2658-2672
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Autism
  • Eye tracking
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of labeling and pointing on object gaze in boys with fragile X syndrome: An eye-tracking study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this