Blinking Patterns and Autism
The average person spends almost an hour blinking every day. Blinking has been shown to be one method we use to give our brains a break from visual stimulus. As the importance of an event increases to a person, we will blink less. This helps tell researchers just how interested a child is in what they are watching, which might be used as a critical qualifier to test children for autism.
Sarah Shultz, Yale University, Ami Klin, Ph.D., Director of Marcus Autism Center and Warren Jones, Ph.D., Director of Research at Marcus Autism Center, published “Inhibition of eye blinking reveals subjective perceptions of stimulus salience” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Typical 2-year-olds inhibited [stopped] their blinking at the same moments in the video. And they were more likely to inhibit their blinking when watching more emotional moments, and when looking at the faces of onscreen characters,” said Shultz. However, toddlers with autism were more likely to stop blinking when looking at physical objects and objects in motion.
This study reveals another glimpse into how children with autism process information and, possibly, how to better treat them.
View the study published in its entirety here.
To read the press release, click here.