Scientific American: Eye Contact Triggers Threat Response in Autistic Children

Children suffering from autism pay very little attention to faces, even those of people close to them. Indeed, this characteristic can become apparent as early as the age of one, and is often used as a developmental sign of the disease. The results of a new study provide additional insight into why autistic children avoid eye contact: they perceive faces as an uncomfortable threat, even if they are familiar.

--ALL animals perceive direct eye contact as a threat. In the wonderful world of Nature's Law (" of fang and sharp of claw"), anything that looks directly at you is thinking about dinner. And you'll get the same reaction from any kid coming home from school when a big kid or an adult stares directly at him or her.

This suggests the many observors who have theorized that autism is a condition of extreme heightened sensitivity to the environment, rather than one of diminished connection, may be right.


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