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Social and attention-to-detail subclusters of autistic traits differentially predict looking at eyes and face identity recognition ability

Davis, Joshua; McKone, Elinor; Zirnsak, Marc; Moore, Tirin; O'Kearney, Richard; Apthorp, Deborah; Palermo, Romina

Description

This study distinguished between different subclusters of autistic traits in the general population and examined the relationships between these subclusters, looking at the eyes of faces, and the ability to recognize facial identity. Using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) measure in a university-recruited sample, we separate the social aspects of autistic traits (i.e., those related to communication and social interaction; AQ-Social) from the non-social aspects, particularly...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorDavis, Joshua
dc.contributor.authorMcKone, Elinor
dc.contributor.authorZirnsak, Marc
dc.contributor.authorMoore, Tirin
dc.contributor.authorO'Kearney, Richard
dc.contributor.authorApthorp, Deborah
dc.contributor.authorPalermo, Romina
dc.date.accessioned2016-12-15T01:14:22Z
dc.date.available2016-12-15T01:14:22Z
dc.identifier.issn0007-1269
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/111405
dc.description.abstractThis study distinguished between different subclusters of autistic traits in the general population and examined the relationships between these subclusters, looking at the eyes of faces, and the ability to recognize facial identity. Using the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) measure in a university-recruited sample, we separate the social aspects of autistic traits (i.e., those related to communication and social interaction; AQ-Social) from the non-social aspects, particularly attention-to-detail (AQ-Attention). We provide the first evidence that these social and non-social aspects are associated differentially with looking at eyes: While AQ-Social showed the commonly assumed tendency towards reduced looking at eyes, AQ-Attention was associated with increased looking at eyes. We also report that higher attention-to-detail (AQ-Attention) was then indirectly related to improved face recognition, mediated by increased number of fixations to the eyes during face learning. Higher levels of socially relevant autistic traits (AQ-Social) trended in the opposite direction towards being related to poorer face recognition (significantly so in females on the Cambridge Face Memory Test). There was no evidence of any mediated relationship between AQ-Social and face recognition via reduced looking at the eyes. These different effects of AQ-Attention and AQ-Social suggest face-processing studies in Autism Spectrum Disorder might similarly benefit from considering symptom subclusters. Additionally, concerning mechanisms of face recognition, our results support the view that more looking at eyes predicts better face memory.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was supported by Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project Grant(DP110100850) to Elinor McKone, Romina Palermo, Richard O’Kearney, and Tirin Moore andARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) (CE110001021; http://www.ccd.edu.au).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherWiley
dc.rights© 2016 The British Psychological Society
dc.sourceBritish Journal of Psychology
dc.subjectautism quotient
dc.subjectautistic traits
dc.subjecteye-tracking
dc.subjectface identity recognition
dc.subjectindividual differences
dc.subjectsocial cues
dc.titleSocial and attention-to-detail subclusters of autistic traits differentially predict looking at eyes and face identity recognition ability
dc.typeJournal article
dc.date.issued2016-03-14
local.identifier.ariespublicationu1029610xPUB6
local.publisher.urlhttp://au.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationDavis, J., Research School of Psychology The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationO'Kearney, R., Research School of Psychology The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationApthorp, D., Research School of Psychology The Australian National University
local.contributor.affiliationPalermo, R., Research School of Psychology The Australian National University
local.description.embargo2039-12-31
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP110100850
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/CE1101021
local.identifier.doi10.1111/bjop.12188
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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