Paternal autistic traits are predictive of infants visual attention

Luca Ronconi, Andrea Facoetti, Hermann Bulf, Laura Franchin, Roberta Bettoni, Eloisa Valenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Since subthreshold autistic social impairments aggregate in family members, and since attentional dysfunctions appear to be one of the earliest cognitive markers of children with autism, we investigated in the general population the relationship between infants' attentional functioning and the autistic traits measured in their parents. Orienting and alerting attention systems were measured in 8-month-old infants using a spatial cueing paradigm. Results showed that only paternal autistic traits were linked to their children's: (1) attentional disengagement; (2) rapid attentional orienting and (3) alerting. Our findings suggest that an early dysfunction of orienting and alerting systems might alter the developmental trajectory of future ability in social cognition and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1556-1564
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Broader autism phenotype
  • Frontoparietal network
  • Right temporoparietal junction
  • Social brain development
  • Spatial attention
  • Temporal attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Ronconi, L., Facoetti, A., Bulf, H., Franchin, L., Bettoni, R., & Valenza, E. (2014). Paternal autistic traits are predictive of infants visual attention. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(7), 1556-1564.