Eyes Up: Influencing Social Gaze through Play

Eckhardt, M. "Eyes Up: Influencing Social Gaze through Play"


Autism can be a debilitating condition that affects a person's personal and social affairs throughout their lifetime. With 1 in 110 people diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) [49], it is important that we develop assistive and learning technologies to help them achieve their potential. In this work I describe the development of a new technologymediated therapeutic game, Frame It, and the subsequent use of Frame It in an intervention, called Eyes Up, with children diagnosed with autism. Eyes Up requires the player to attend to details of the human face in order to correctly construct puzzles of people's eyes and then assign an expression label to them. The intervention is intended as a play-centered activity with the goal of increasing attention to other people's face and eyes region and improving expression recognition abilities. Through the application of user-centered design principles and special considerations to our participants we have been able to develop an engaging game that sustains interest. Using an eye-tracking system in conjunction with specifically designed experiments, we have been able to test the system's ability to influence gaze behavior and expression recognition. Analysis of of pre- and post- experimental measures reveals statistically significant increases in attention to the face and eyes and increases in expression recognition abilities.

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