Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 49, Issue 7, pp 2747–2767 | Cite as

Autistic Traits are Linked to Individual Differences in Familiar Voice Identification

  • Verena G. SkukEmail author
  • Romina Palermo
  • Laura Broemer
  • Stefan R. Schweinberger
Original Paper


Autistic traits vary across the general population, and are linked with face recognition ability. Here we investigated potential links between autistic traits and voice recognition ability for personally familiar voices in a group of 30 listeners (15 female, 16–19 years) from the same local school. Autistic traits (particularly those related to communication and social interaction) were negatively correlated with voice recognition, such that more autistic traits were associated with fewer familiar voices identified and less ability to discriminate familiar from unfamiliar voices. In addition, our results suggest enhanced accessibility of personal semantic information in women compared to men. Overall, this study establishes a detailed pattern of relationships between voice identification performance and autistic traits in the general population.


Autistic traits Voice Recognition Individual differences Gender differences Own-gender-bias. 



This research was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) to S.R.S. (grant reference Schw 511/10 − 1) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders [grant number CE110001021] and Discovery Project Grant DP110100850 to RP. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions by all speakers and listeners. In particular, we are indebted to three pupils of the Carl-Zeiss-Gymnasium Jena, Rabea Hinsching, Jasmin Krebs, and Nora Weidner, who established the contact to the population and conducted substantial parts of this research under the authors’ supervision as a scientific school project on voice perception. This research would not have been possible without their enthusiastic contribution. Finally, we thank Constanze Muehl, and André Radtke who supported this research as student assistants.

Author Contributions

Study conception and design: VGS, SRS. Acquistion of data: VGS, LB. Analysis and interpretation of data: VGS, RP, LB, SRS. Drafting of manuscript: VGS, RP, SRS. Critical revision: VGS, RP, SRS.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3039_MOESM1_ESM.docx (142 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 142 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verena G. Skuk
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Romina Palermo
    • 3
    • 5
  • Laura Broemer
    • 1
  • Stefan R. Schweinberger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department for General Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Institute of PsychologyFriedrich Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.DFG Research Unit Person Perception, Institute of PsychologyFriedrich Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany
  3. 3.Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, and School of PsychologyThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Otolaryngology, Institute of Phoniatry and PedaudiologyJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  5. 5.Social Potential in Autism Research UnitFriedrich Schiller University of JenaJenaGermany

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