Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 12, pp 2534–2545

Implicit Social Learning in Relation to Autistic-Like Traits

  • Matthew Hudson
  • Tanja C. W. Nijboer
  • Tjeerd Jellema
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1510-3

Cite this article as:
Hudson, M., Nijboer, T.C.W. & Jellema, T. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 2534. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1510-3


We investigated if variation in autistic traits in the typically-developed population (using the Autism-spectrum Quotient, AQ) influenced implicit learning of social information. In the learning phase, participants repeatedly observed two identities whose gaze and expression conveyed either a pro- or antisocial disposition. These identities were then employed in a gaze-cueing paradigm. Participants made speeded responses to a peripheral target that was spatially pre-cued by a non-predictive gaze direction. The low AQ group (n = 50) showed a smaller gaze-cueing effect for the antisocial than for the prosocial identity. The high AQ group (n = 48) showed equivalent gaze-cueing for both identities. Others’ intentions/dispositions can be learned implicitly and affect subsequent responses to their behavior. This ability is impaired with increasing levels of autistic traits.


Intention Gaze direction Autism spectrum Emotional expression Gaze cueing Implicit learning 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Hudson
    • 1
  • Tanja C. W. Nijboer
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tjeerd Jellema
    • 2
  1. 1.School of BusinessUniversidad del NorteBarranquilla, AtlanticoColombia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HullHullUK
  3. 3.Psychologische Functieleer, Helmholtz InstituutUniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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