Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy - School Psychology
Dr. Luis Aguerrevere
Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey
Dr. Scott Drury
Dr. Elaine Turner
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) has been proposed as an alternative noninvasive therapy for individuals with autism. This study trained brain activity in college students and / or faculty with Broad Autism Phenotype (BAP) while eye tracking data was collected. The purpose of this study was to determine if tDCS training to the frontal lobes could increase approach toward social interactions in adults classified as BAP as demonstrated by eye-tracking measures in response to faces and gaze fixation. The study included 21 total participants recruited from the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) courses / professions at a Regional East Texas University. Participants were classified as BAP+ based on their scores on the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ). Findings revealed statistically significant differences in the participant revisit gaze and a trend in reduction of fixations and in fixation duration increase after tDCS stimulation. Additionally, this study found a moderate correlation between BAPQ scores and revisit revistors and suggested the closer the family member of the BAP+ participant, the higher the BAP score. The results of the current study support the integration of eye tracking to provide early identification and intervention and propagate the importance of clinicians’ and researchers’ focus on the factors that modulate eye tracking measures to reduce symptomology of ASD and BAP as well as other conditions with overlapping brain regions.
Baker, Nicole R., "The Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Facial Expression Approach/Avoidance in College Students and Faculty with Broad Autism Phenotype" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 501.
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