Externalizing and interpreting autonomic arousal in people diagnosed with autism
Author(s)Lee, Jackie Chia-Hsun
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Rosalind R. Picard.
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This research explores how externalization of physiological states helps to provide an awareness of hidden stressors through a home-based study, a lab-based study, and a school-based study in order to facilitate social understanding of people who are nonspeaking, especially those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For people who experienced with hyper- or hypo-sensory responses (e.g., many people diagnosed with ASD), over-aroused situations or " meltdowns" are often accompanied by incorrect attributions of potential stressors in their everyday lives. A series of physiology-based technologies are implemented as a toolkit (e.g., providing in-situ visual and tactile feedback, or enabling interactive and analytical indexing of collected data) for assisting the interpretations of individuals' arousal states. First, the home-based study is a participant-driven study following Kanner's perspective of documenting "fascinating peculiarities" in autism. I arrive in a family as an ethnographer documenting a dynamic process of hypothesizing and interpreting situations in order to seek a dialogue with a young man with ASD who is able to name objects, but does not use language in typical ways. Second, the lab-based study is a single-case design experiment with direct replications focusing on class teachers' interpretations of arousal states in students diagnosed with ASD. The goal of this study is to assess how real-time displays of student physiological activity (i.e. heart rate) affect teacher estimation of arousal and relaxation. The results suggest that arousal estimation varies as a function of how physiological information is displayed. Third, the school- based study presents a collaboration with an occupational therapist (OT) and three teenage participants with ASD. This study documents the iterated investigations of the OT's interpretations with and without the presence of students' physiological data (i.e. skin conductance data). This study demonstrates how participants' arousal information assists the OT in making judgments from a clinical perspective. This dissertation presents an experimental method and toolkit to help calibrate typical assumptions about people diagnosed with ASD. With the intervention of physiology-based technologies, this research shows a novel approach of debugging reciprocal understanding of people in both naturalistic and experimental environments.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2011.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 123-128).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.