The Role of Color in Face Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders
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The contribution of color in relation to face processing is poorly understood, despite the critical role of face processing in adaptive human interaction and social communication. Both faces and color are particularly salient cues necessary for navigating the environment. This project examines how the typical fixation behaviors employed for face processing are affected by the removal of color. Previous studies using eye-tracking have predominantly used achromatic stimuli, ignoring the role of color in face perception. Furthermore, given that face processing is disrupted in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), investigation into how gaze behavior is affected by color in relation to ASD symptoms is critical to understanding the nature of observed deficits in social communication. We use the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) to explore the contribution of ASD-related behaviors in a neuro-typical population. Results indicate that the removal of color from images of faces is associated with increased fixation on the eyes of grayscale faces over normal, color faces. Exploratory correlations with BAPQ scores reveal that this tendency is enhanced in subjects with higher (more ASD-like) scores than that those with lower scores, suggesting that color provides social information that influences overall fixation time on the eyes.
DepartmentPsychology and Neuroscience
CitationKatz, Sophie (2017). The Role of Color in Face Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14264.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers