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Perception. 2019 Mar;48(3):197-213. doi: 10.1177/0301006619828300. Epub 2019 Feb 13.

Visual and Hedonic Perception of Food Stimuli in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their Relationship to Food Neophobia.

Author information

1
Research Center in Neurosciences of Lyon, Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, France; Institute of Special Education, University of Fribourg, Switzerland; Brocoli Factory, Sion, Switzerland.
2
Institute of Special Education, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
3
Brocoli Factory, Sion, Switzerland.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
5
Research Center in Neurosciences of Lyon, Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, France.

Abstract

The present study examined whether children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing (TD) children differed in visual perception of food stimuli at both sensorimotor and affective levels. A potential link between visual perception and food neophobia was also investigated. To these aims, 11 children with ASD and 11 TD children were tested. Visual pictures of food were used, and food neophobia was assessed by the parents. Results revealed that children with ASD explored visually longer food stimuli than TD children. Complementary analyses revealed that whereas TD children explored more multiple-item dishes (vs. simple-item dishes), children with ASD explored all the dishes in a similar way. In addition, children with ASD gave more negative appreciation in general. Moreover, hedonic rating was negatively correlated with food neophobia scores in children with ASD, but not in TD children. In sum, we show here that children with ASD have more difficulty than TD children in liking a food when presented visually. Our findings also suggest that a prominent factor that needs to be considered is time management during the food choice process. They also provide new ways of measuring and understanding food neophobia in children with ASD.

KEYWORDS:

autism; eye tracking; food neophobia; hedonic evaluation; sight

PMID:
30758252
DOI:
10.1177/0301006619828300
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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