Implicit Social Learning in Relation to Autistic-Like Traits
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- Hudson, M., Nijboer, T.C.W. & Jellema, T. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 2534. doi:10.1007/s10803-012-1510-3
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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.