Why Do Those with Autism Avoid Eye Contact?

Researchers at Massachusetts' general hospital have discovered why autistics refrain from looking directly into other people's eyes. They say that studies have shown that the reason for avoiding eye contact is to avoid stimulation of the brain.

According to Medical Science, contrary to what has been assumed so far, the results of studies indicate that the reason why autistics avoid eye contact is not because they do not wish to communicate with others, but this behavior is a way of reducing unpleasant stimulation due to excessive activity of certain parts of the brain.

Although avoiding eye contact is often understood as a sign of social indifference, many autistics argue that this kind of eye contact makes them uncomfortable and stressed.

To obtain more information, researchers observed and assessed the brain activity of a group of people consisting of autistics and normal people as they watched pictures of faces and eyes of others. The brain activity of both groups as they watched pictures of faces of others was exactly the same, but when autistics watched pictures of the eyes, their brain’s subcortical structure became overactivated as they watched fearful, happy, and angry faces.

Construction of a more accurate camera inspired by honey bees

Inspired by the visual structure of the honey bee, Australian researchers found a way to produce more accurate photographic cameras for smart phones and robots.

Science Daily stated that because of continuous changes in the color of the light, recognizing colors outdoors is very difficult. By studying the strategy used by the honey bee to solve this problem, Australian researchers were able to invent a new mechanism for processing color information.

From the perspective of a digital device such as a smart phone or a robot camera, color of objects are constantly changing. To solve this problem, it is currently assumed that gray is the dominant color in the world. For instance, detecting the color of ripened fruit or mineral-rich soil is very hard for these devices, which limits their outdoor performance.

However, bees have a third eye on top of their heads that directly watches the sky. This third eye has two color receptors that are specifically adjusted to receive the ambient light.

Moreover, bees have two compound eyes for recognizing the color of flowers in the environment. Researchers believe that this structure makes detection of natural colors that are normally combined with the ambient colors and cause errors. Researchers are trying to incorporate this color detection structure in imaging devices.