‘Autistic’ Traits in Non-Autistic Japanese Populations: Relationships with Personality Traits and Cognitive Ability

  • Yura KunihiraEmail author
  • Atsushi Senju
  • Hitoshi Dairoku
  • Akio Wakabayashi
  • Toshikazu Hasegawa


We explored the relationships between ‘autistic’ traits as measured by the AQ (Autism-Spectrum Quotient; Baron-Cohen et al., J. Autism Develop. Disord. (2001b) 31 5) and various personality traits or cognitive ability, which usually coincide with autistic symptoms, for general populations. Results showed the AQ was associated with tendencies toward an obsessional personality as defined by the TCI (Temperament and Character Inventory), higher depression and anxiety, and higher frequency of experience of being bullied. These results parallel the patterns in autism and corroborate the validity of the AQ for general populations. Contrary to our prediction, however, there was no relationship between the AQ and cognitive ability, such as theory of mind, executive functioning, and central coherence, suggesting the AQ does not reflect autism-specific cognitive patterns in general populations.


Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ); general population; personality; depression; anxiety; cognitive ability 



We thank all the participants for their kind cooperation. We also thank Nobuhiko Kijima for allowing us to use the Japanese version of the TCI, Simon Baron-Cohen for helpful comments on an earlier version of our paper, and Mariko Hasegawa, Toshiaki Tanaka, Harumi Eguchi, Hitomi Shimazaki, Yuki Takeuchi, and Yoshimi Hosaka for their help with data acquisition.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yura Kunihira
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Atsushi Senju
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hitoshi Dairoku
    • 3
    • 4
  • Akio Wakabayashi
    • 5
  • Toshikazu Hasegawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences The University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Department of Psychology, BirkbeckUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Faculty of Human StudiesMusashino UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Institute of Disability SciencesUniversity of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  5. 5.Faculty of LettersChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  6. 6.Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences The University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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