Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Lauren J Moskowitz

Second Advisor

Melissa Peckins

Third Advisor

Robin Wellington


The current study used eye tracking and behavioral measures to examine social attention and recognition memory in two rare genetic disorders commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): ADNP syndrome and FOXP1 syndrome. Impairment in social functioning is considered a core deficit in ASD. Although individuals with ADNP syndrome and FOXP1 syndrome typically present with symptoms of ASD, research suggests several dissimilarities in symptom presence and severity between the groups. Thus, there is a need to clarify disorder-specific patterns of social attention and their relationships to observed social skills. A visual paired comparison eye tracking task was used to assess social attention and memory in youth with ADNP syndrome (n = 18) and FOXP1 syndrome (n = 9) compared to youth with idiopathic ASD (n = 90) and typically developing controls (n = 43). Diagnostic groups demonstrated similar within-group attention to social and non-social stimuli but differences in engagement with the presented stimuli depending on stimulus type and image location. Rare genetic disorder groups also demonstrated differences in preferential looking patterns for novel versus familiar stimuli. Correlations with behavioral measures were examined for each group, with the social problems domain of the CBCL demonstrating the highest correlations with the ADNP group and the socialization domains of caregiver-report interviews (i.e., Vineland-3, ADI-R) demonstrating the highest correlations with the FOXP1 group. These findings offer a characterization of social attention and memory patterns in youth with these rare conditions that yields insight into subtle differences in information processing across disorders.