Gaze following, gaze reading, and word learning in children at risk for autism

Teodora Gliga, Mayada Elsabbagh, Kristelle Hudry, Tony Charman, Mark H. Johnson, The BASIS Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated gaze-following abilities as a prerequisite for word learning, in a population expected to manifest a wide range of social and communicative skills-children with a family history of autism. Fifty-three 3-year-olds with or without a family history of autism took part in a televised word-learning task. Using an eye-tracker to monitor children's gaze behavior, it was shown that the ability to follow gaze was necessary but not sufficient for successful word learning. Those children who had poor social and communicative skills followed gaze to the labeled object but did not then learn the associated word. These findings shed light on the conditions that lead to successful word learning in typical and atypical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-938
Number of pages13
JournalChild Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

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