Award Date

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Michael McCreery

Second Committee Member

Randall Boone

Third Committee Member

P.G. Schrader

Fourth Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Number of Pages



Social attention serves a critical role in human social interactions and the ability to understand others. Driven by advances in eye-tracking technology and new paradigms for research, studies on social attention have increased substantially in number in recent years. Findings from eye-tracking studies provide evidence of atypical social attention behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Given the challenges with social interactions between children with ASD and their typically developing peers, a second-person framework was used to explore new paradigms for social attention research and the use of an eye-tracking intervention to assess and guide social attention in real-time interactions. This dissertation examines key aspects of social attention in three interrelated articles. The first article reviews the literature on social attention and its role in enabling social interactions and social understanding. The second article explores the use of a second-person approach to eye-tracking research methods and interventions for social attention. The third article presents an instructional approach for teaching social attention using eye-tracking technology and describes procedures for implementing the approach to facilitate interactions between children with ASD and their typically developing peers. The final chapter closes with an integrative summary of the three articles, discussion of the overall implications for research and practice, and suggestions for future research.


autism spectrum disorder; educational interventions; eye tracking; social attention; social cognitive development; social interaction


Developmental Psychology | Education | Medical Neurobiology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Neurosciences

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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