Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jasmine Lopez L&S Social Sciences

Guiding Visual Attention during Contextual Emotion Tracking in Autism

This project aims to enhance emotion perception training for individuals with Autistic traits by developing a guided-gaze assistance program using eye-tracking data from the best 10% of participants in the Inferential Emotion Tracking (IET) task (Chen & Whitney, 2019). The IET task requires observers to infer emotions from contextual cues alone, which has proved to reveal deficits in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Ortega, Chen, & Whitney, 2022). Existing Autism interventions for emotion perception often focus solely on facial expressions, neglecting the complexity of real-life social interactions. By distinguishing parts of the scene where the top 10% of individuals looked during the IET task, we will enable participants to grasp contextual social cues beyond facial expressions, such as body language. To conclude, we will determine how variably performance improves between those with low and high Autism Quotient scores when using the guided-gaze program. These findings will contribute valuable insights into the role of context in emotion perception and inform the development of future technology-based interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Message To Sponsor

I want to extend a warm thank you for enabling me to pursue my project. Not only does your support grant me more independence in the field of Cognitive Science, but it also contributes to the future research and enhancement of emotion perception in those with ASD. This opportunity means the world to me as a first-generation student, and I am deeply grateful for your faith in the potential of this work!
Major: Cognitive Science and Psychology
Mentor: David Whitney
Sponsor: Landau Fund
Back to Listings
Back to Donor Reports