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<p>The ability to interpret and follow the gaze of our social partners is an integral skill in human communication. Recent research has demonstrated that gaze following behaviour is underpinned by theory of mind (ToM) processes. However, it is yet to be determined whether the modulation of gaze cueing by ToM is affected by individual differences, such as autistic traits. The aim of this experiment was to establish whether autistic traits in neurotypical populations affects the mediation of gaze cueing by ToM processes. This study used a gaze cueing paradigm within a change detection task. Participants’ perception of a gaze cue was manipulated such that they only believed the cue to be able to ‘see’ in one condition. The results revealed that participants in the low autistic traits group were significantly influenced by the mental state of the gaze cue and were more accurate on valid trials when they believed the cue could ‘see’. By contrast, participants in the high autistic traits group were more accurate on valid trials but this was not influenced by the mental state of the gaze cue. This study therefore provides evidence that autistic traits influence the extent to which mental state attributions modulate social attention in neurotypical adults.</p> <p>-- Dr Emma Morgan Lecturer Department of Psychology University of Sheffield Cathedral Court 1 Vicar Lane Sheffield S1 1HD</p> <p><a href="http://www.autismresearchlab.group.shef.ac.uk/" rel="nofollow">http://www.autismresearchlab.group.shef.ac.uk/</a></p> <p><em>Student appointments:</em> Students wishing to meet with me - please book an appointment via google calendar by clicking here <a href="https://calendar.google.com/calendar/selfsched?sstoken=UUlqdlVISEpSNlYtfGRlZmF1bHR8ZjY0YjgxMjZlOThmNmEwZGEyMTkxMzFhMDBhMWQ3Njg" rel="nofollow">https://calendar.google.com/calendar/selfsched?sstoken=UUlqdlVISEpSNlYtfGRlZmF1bHR8ZjY0YjgxMjZlOThmNmEwZGEyMTkxMzFhMDBhMWQ3Njg</a>. Please type a short description of the reason for the appointment in the description field.</p> <p><em>I don't expect you to respond to my email outside your working hours. </em> <em>At the University of Sheffield we value and encourage flexible working patterns, so please be assured that I respect your working pattern and I am looking forward to your response when you are next in work.</em></p>
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