Spontaneous shifts of attention were observed in autistic, typically
nonautistic developmentally delayed infants. Three types of attention shifting
were observed; (1) between an object and another object, (2) between an
object and a person,
and (3) between a person and another person. The two control groups shifted
frequently between an object and a person than between an object and another
between a person and another person. The infants with autism showed a different
shifting attention between an object and another object more than any other
type of shift.
Furthermore, infants with autism showed fewer shifts of attention between
an object and a
person, and between person and person, than did the two control groups.
They also spent
less time overall looking at people and looked more briefly at people and
for longer durations
at objects, compared to the two control groups. These results indicate
an abnormality in
social orientation in autism even at the early age of 20 months.