Publications by authors named "Jonathan E Prunty"

4 Publications

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Infants scan static and dynamic facial expressions differently.

Infancy 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.

Despite being inherently dynamic phenomena, much of our understanding of how infants attend and scan facial expressions is based on static face stimuli. Here we investigate how six-, nine-, and twelve-month infants allocate their visual attention toward dynamic-interactive videos of the six basic emotional expressions, and compare their responses with static images of the same stimuli. We find infants show clear differences in how they attend and scan dynamic and static expressions, looking longer toward the dynamic-face and lower-face regions. Infants across all age groups show differential interest in expressions, and show precise scanning of regions "diagnostic" for emotion recognition. These data also indicate that infants' attention toward dynamic expressions develops over the first year of life, including relative increases in interest and scanning precision toward some negative facial expressions (e.g., anger, fear, and disgust).
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July 2021

Eye Movements and Behavioural Responses to Gaze-Contingent Expressive Faces in Typically Developing Infants and Infant Siblings.

Autism Res 2021 05 10;14(5):973-983. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

University of Kent, School of Psychology, Keynes College, Canterbury, Kent, UK.

Studies with infant siblings of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have attempted to identify early markers for the disorder and suggest that autistic symptoms emerge between 12 and 24 months of age. Yet, a reliable first-year marker remains elusive. We propose that in order to establish first-year manifestations of this inherently social disorder, we need to develop research methods that are sufficiently socially demanding and realistically interactive. Building on Keemink et al. [2019, Developmental Psychology, 55, 1362-1371], we employed a gaze-contingent eye-tracking paradigm in which infants could interact with face stimuli. Infants could elicit emotional expressions (happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, anger) from on-screen faces by engaging in eye contact. We collected eye-tracking data and video-recorded behavioural response data from 122 (64 male, 58 female) typically developing infants and 31 infant siblings (17 male, 14 female) aged 6-, 9- and 12-months old. All infants demonstrated a significant Expression by AOI interaction (F(10, 1470) = 10.003, P < 0.001, ŋ  = 0.064). Infants' eye movements were "expression-specific" with infants distributing their fixations to AOIs differently per expression. Whereas eye movements provide no evidence of deviancies, behavioural response data show significant aberrancies in reciprocity for infant siblings. Infant siblings show reduced social responsiveness at the group level (F(1, 147) = 4.10, P = 0.042, ŋ  = 0.028) and individual level (Fischer's Exact, P = 0.032). We conclude that the gaze-contingency paradigm provides a realistically interactive experience capable of detecting deviancies in social responsiveness early, and we discuss our results in relation to subsequent infant sibling development. LAY SUMMARY: We investigated how infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder respond to interactive faces presented on a computer screen. Our study demonstrates that infant siblings are less responsive when interacting with faces on a computer screen (e.g., they smile and imitate less) in comparison to infants without an older sibling with autism. Reduced responsiveness within social interaction could potentially have implications for how parents and carers interact with these infants. Autism Res 2021, 14: 973-983. © 2020 International Society for Autism Research and Wiley Periodicals LLC.
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May 2021

Caucasian Infants' Attentional Orienting to Own- and Other-Race Faces.

Brain Sci 2020 Jan 17;10(1). Epub 2020 Jan 17.

School of Psychology, Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP, UK.

Infants show preferential attention toward faces and detect faces embedded within complex naturalistic scenes. Newborn infants are insensitive to race, but rapidly develop differential processing of own- and other-race faces. In the present study, we investigated the development of attentional orienting toward own- and other-race faces embedded within naturalistic scenes. Infants aged six-, nine- and twelve-months did not show differences in the speed of orienting to own- and other race faces, but other-race faces held infants' visual attention for longer. We also found a clear developmental progression in attentional capture and holding, with older infants orienting to faces faster and fixating them for longer. Results are interpreted within the context of the two-process model of face processing.
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January 2020

Family therapy for autism spectrum disorders.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2017 05 16;5:CD011894. Epub 2017 May 16.

MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, 16 de Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, UK, SE5 8AF.

Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterised by impairments in communication and reciprocal social interaction. These impairments can impact on relationships with family members, augment stress and frustration, and contribute to behaviours that can be described as challenging. Family members of individuals with ASD can experience high rates of carer stress and burden, and poor parental efficacy. While there is evidence to suggest that individuals with ASD and family members derive benefit from psychological interventions designed to reduce stress and mental health morbidity, and enhance coping, most studies to date have targeted the needs of either individuals with ASD, or family members. We wanted to examine whether family (systemic) therapy, aimed at enhancing communication, relationships or coping, is effective for individuals with ASD and their wider family network.

Objectives: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness and acceptability of family therapy as a treatment to enhance communication or coping for individuals with ASD and their family members. If possible, we will also seek to establish the economic costs associated with family therapy for this clinical population.

Search Methods: On 16 January 2017 we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, 10 other databases and three trials registers. We also handsearched reference lists of existing systematic reviews and contacted study authors in the field.

Selection Criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs investigating the effectiveness of family therapy for young people or adults with ASD or family members, or both, delivered via any modality and for an unspecified duration, compared with either standard care, a wait-list control, or an active intervention such as an alternative type of psychological therapy.

Data Collection And Analysis: Two authors independently screened each title and abstract and all full-text reports retrieved. To enhance rigour, 25% of these were independently screened by a third author.

Main Results: The search yielded 4809 records. Of these, we retrieved 37 full-text reports for further scrutiny, which we subsequently excluded as they did not meet the review inclusion criteria, and identified one study awaiting classification.

Authors' Conclusions: Few studies have examined the effectiveness of family therapy for ASD, and none of these are RCTs. Further research studies employing methodologically robust trial designs are needed to establish whether family therapy interventions are clinically beneficial for enhancing communication, strengthening relationships, augmenting coping and reducing mental health morbidity for individuals with ASD and family members.
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May 2017