Visual processing of faces in individuals with fragile X syndrome: An eye tracking study

Faraz Farzin, Susan M. Rivera, David R Hessl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Gaze avoidance is a hallmark behavioral feature of fragile X syndrome (FXS), but little is known about whether abnormalities in the visual processing of faces, including disrupted autonomic reactivity, may underlie this behavior. Eye tracking was used to record fixations and pupil diameter while adolescents and young adults with FXS and sex- and age-matched typically developing controls passively viewed photographs of faces containing either a calm, happy, or fearful expression, preceded by a scrambled face matched on luminance. Results provide quantitative evidence for significant differences in gaze patterns and increased pupillary reactivity when individuals with FXS passively view static faces. Such abnormalities have significant implications in terms of understanding causes of gaze avoidance observed in individuals with FXS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-952
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Eye tracking
  • Face processing
  • FMR1 gene
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Pupil reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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