Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is characterized by hallmark features of gaze avoidance, reduced social approach, and social anxiety. The development of therapeutics to manage these symptoms has been hindered, in part, by the lack of sensitive outcome measures. This study investigated the utility of a novel eye tracking paradigm for indexing social avoidance-related phenotypes. Adolescent/young adult-aged males with FXS (n=24) and typical development (n=23) participated in the study. Participants viewed faces displaying direct or averted gaze and the first fixation duration on the eyes was recorded as an index of initial stimulus registration. Fixation durations did not differ across the direction of gaze conditions in either group, although the control group showed longer initial fixations on the eyes relative to the FXS group. Shorter initial fixation on averted gaze in males with FXS was a robust predictor of the severity of their social avoidance behavior exhibited during a social greeting context, whereas parent-reported social avoidance symptoms was not related to performance in the semi-naturalistic context. This eye tracking paradigm may represent a promising outcome measure for FXS clinical trials because it provides a quantitative index that closely maps onto core social avoidance phenotypes of FXS, can be completed in less than 20 minutes, and is suitable for use with individuals with low IQ.
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Postprint version. Published in American Journal of Medical Genetics, Volume 183, Issue 1, 2019, pages 5-16.
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: A Novel Eye Tracking Paradigm for Indexing Social Avoidance-Related Behavior in Fragile X Syndrome, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32757. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Klusek, J., Moser, C., Schmidt, J., Abbeduto, L., & Roberts, J. (2019). A novel eye‐tracking paradigm for indexing social avoidance‐related behavior in fragile X syndrome. American Journal Of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 183(1), 5-16. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.b.32757