I’ve written a lot about Autism here over the years and spoken about the different ways in which it has been suggested it was possible to find out if a person or child was autistic; from the Sally-Anne test to this more recent suggestion from Baron-Cohen et al. – the eyes and emotion recognition.
In his 1997 study Baron-Cohen used adult participants with autism or Aspergers and compared there ability to recognise emotions from only seeing the eyes of a target person with ‘normal’ participants and further group of participants with Tourettes. He found that those with Autism performed significantly worse on the ‘eye task’. He suggested that this could have significance relating to those with autism’s poor social skills and difficulty with social interaction.
Have a go on the test yourself and see how you do. You can get PDF versions of the Eye test from the Autism Research Centre or visit Glenn Rowe’s site where he has created an online version of the test. You can also view the results of over 15,000 peoples tests there too which is an interesting comparison and a massive sample for comparison to the Baron-Cohen (1997) research.