Threatening faces fail to guide attention for adults with autistic-like traits

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Individuals diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions often show deficits in processing emotional faces relative to neurotypical peers. However, little is known about whether similar deficits exist in neurotypical individuals who show high-levels of autistic-like traits. To address this question, we compared performance on an attentional blink task in a large sample of adults who showed low- or high-levels of autistic-like traits on the Autism Spectrum Quotient. We found that threatening faces inserted as the second target in a rapid serial visual presentation were identified more accurately among individuals with low- compared to high-levels of autistic-like traits. This is the first study to show that attentional blink abnormalities seen in autism extend to the neurotypical population with autistic-like traits, adding to the growing body of research suggesting that autistic-related patterns of behaviors extend into a subset of the neurotypical population. Autism Res 2017, 10: 311–320.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalAutism Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


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