Autistic Traits are Linked to Individual Differences in Familiar Voice Identification

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Supplementary material

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

References

  1. Abrams, D. A., et al. (2016). Neural circuits underlying mother’s voice perception predict social communication abilities in children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 6295–6300. doi:10.1073/pnas.1602948113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin, E. J. (2005). Personality correlates of the broader autism phenotype as assessed by the autism spectrum quotient (AQ). Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 451–460. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2004.04.022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Skinner, R., Martin, J., & Clubley, E. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31, 5–17. doi:10.1023/a:1005653411471.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartholomäus, B. (1973). Voice identification by nursery-school children. Canadian Journal of Psychology—Revue Canadienne De Psychologie, 27, 464–472. doi:10.1037/h0082498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Belin, P., Bestelmeyer, P. E., Latinus, M., & Watson, R. (2011). Understanding voice perception. British Journal of Psychology, 102, 711–725. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02041.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Belin, P., Fecteau, S., & Bedard, C. (2004). Thinking the voice: Neural correlates of voice perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 129–135. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2004.01.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Blasi, A., et al. (2015). Atypical processing of voice sounds in infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder. Cortex, 71, 122–133. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.06.015.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Boersma, P. (2001). Praat, a system for doing phonetics by computer. Glot International, 5(9/10), 341–345.Google Scholar
  9. Boucher, J., Lewis, V., & Collis, G. (1998). Familiar face and voice matching and recognition in children with autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 39, 171–181. doi:10.1017/s0021963097001820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bruce, V., & Young, A. (1986). Understanding face recognition. British Journal of Psychology, 77, 305–327. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1986.tb02199.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Dalrymple, K. A., & Palermo, R. (2016). Guidelines for studying developmental prosopagnosia in adults and children. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews-Cognitive. Science, 7, 73–87. doi:10.1002/wcs.1374.Google Scholar
  12. Davis, J., et al. (2017). Social and attention-to-detail sub-clusters of autistic traits differentially predict looking at eyes and face identity recognition ability. British Journal of Psychology, 108, 191–219. doi:10.1111/bjop.12188.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. DeCasper, A. J., & Fifer, W. P. (1980). Of human bonding—newborns prefer their mothers voices. Science, 208, 1174–1176. doi:10.1126/science.7375928.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Demopoulos, C., Hopkins, J., & Lewine, J. D. (2016). Relations Between Nonverbal and Verbal Social Cognitive Skills and Complex Social Behavior in Children and Adolescents with Autism. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 913–921. doi:10.1007/s10802-015-0082-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Diamond, R., & Carey, S. (1986). Why faces are and are not special: An effect of expertise. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 115, 107–117. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.115.2.107.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dobel, C., Putsche, C., Zwitserlood, P., Junghoefer, M. (2008). Early left-hemispheric dysfunction of face processing in congenital prosopagnosia: An MEG Study. Plos ONE 3, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002326.Google Scholar
  17. DSM-V American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. DSM–5.Google Scholar
  18. Duchaine, B., & Nakayama, K. (2006). The Cambridge Face Memory Test: Results for neurologically intact individuals and an investigation of its validity using inverted face stimuli and prosopagnosic participants. Neuropsychologia, 44, 576–585. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2005.07.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G* Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175–191.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Freitag, C.M., et al. (2007). Evaluation der deutschen Version des Autismus-Spektrum-Quotienten (AQ)-die Kurzversion AQ-k. Zeitschrift für klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 36, 280–289 doi:10.1026/1616-3443.36.4.280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Garrido, L., et al. (2009). Developmental phonagnosia: A selective deficit of vocal identity recognition. Neuropsychologia, 47, 123–131. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.08.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gervais, H., et al. (2004). Abnormal cortical voice processing in autism. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 801–802 doi. Doi:10.1038/Nn1291.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Glass, G.V., P.D. Peckham (1972). Consequences of failure to meet assumptions underlying the fixed effects analyses of variance and covariance. Review of Educational Research 42, 237–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Golarai, G., Grill-Spector, K., & Reiss, A. L. (2006). Autism and the development of face processing. Clinical Neuroscience Research, 6, 145–160. doi:10.1016/j.cnr.2006.08.001.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Hailstone, J. C., Crutch, S. J., Vestergaard, M. D., Patterson, R. D., & Warren, J. D. (2010). Progressive associative phonagnosia: A neuropsychological analysis. Neuropsychologia, 48, 1104–1114. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.12.011.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  26. Hancock, P.J.B., Bruce, V., & Burton, A. M. (2000). Recognition of unfamiliar faces. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 330–337. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01519-9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Hanley, J. R., & Cowell, E. S. (1988). The effects of different types of retrieval cues on the recall of names of famous faces. Mem. Cognition, 16, 545–555. doi:10.3758/bf03197056.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hanley, J. R., & Damjanovic, L. (2009). It is more difficult to retrieve a familiar person’s name and occupation from their voice than from their blurred face. Memory (Hove, England), 17, 830–839. doi:10.1080/09658210903264175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hanley, J. R., Smith, S. T., & Hadfield, J. (1998). I recognise you but I can’t place you: An investigation of familiar-only experiences during tests of voice and face recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section a-Human Experimental Psychology, 51, 179–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hanley, J. R., & Turner, J. M. (2000). Why are familiar-only experiences more frequent for voices than for faces? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section a-Human Experimental Psychology, 53, 1105–1116. doi:10.1080/02724980050156317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hanley, J. R., Young, A. W., & Pearson, N. A. (1989). Defective recognition of familiar people. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 6, 179–210. doi:10.1080/02643298908253418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hedley, D., Brewer, N., & Young, R. (2011). Face recognition performance of individuals with Asperger syndrome on the Cambridge face memory test. Autism Research, 4, 449–455. doi:10.1002/aur.214.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Herlitz, A., Lovén, J. (2009). Sex Differences in Cognitive Functions. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 41, 1081–1090.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Herlitz, A., & Loven, J. (2013). Sex differences and the own-gender bias in face recognition: A meta-analysis review. Visual Cognition, 21, 1306–1336. doi:10.1080/13506285.2013.823140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Herzmann, G., Kunina, O., Sommer, W., & Wilhelm, O. (2010). Individual differences in face cognition: Brain-behavior relationships. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 571–589. doi:10.1162/jocn.2009.21249.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Hildebrandt, A., Sommer, W., Herzmann, G., & Wilhelm, O. (2010). Structural invariance and age-related performance differences in face cognition. Psychology and Aging, 25, 794–810. doi:10.1037/a0019774.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Hoekstra, R. A., Bartels, M., Cath, D. C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2008). Factor structure, reliability and criterion validity of the autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): A study in dutch population and patient groups. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1555–1566. doi:10.1007/s10803-008-0538-x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  38. Hurley, R. S. E., Losh, M., Parlier, M., Reznick, J. S., & Piven, J. (2007). The broad autism phenotype questionnaire. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1679–1690. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0299-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Huynh, H., & Feldt, L. (1976). Estimation of the Box correction for degrees of freedom from sample data in randomised block and split-plot designs. Journal of Educational Statistics, 1, 69–82. doi:10.3102/10769986001001069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jänicke, C. (2001). Die Entwicklung des Bielefelder Famous Faces Test.Google Scholar
  41. Jemel, B., Mottron, L., & Dawson, M. (2006). Impaired face processing in autism: Fact or artifact? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36, 91–106. doi:10.1007/s10803-005-0050-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Kaufmann, J. M., Schulz, C., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2013). High and low performers differ in the use of shape information for face recognition. Neuropsychologia, 51, 1310–1319. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.03.015.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Kendall, M. G., & Stuart, A. (1985). Advanced theory of statistics (Vol. 1). London: Charles Griffin.Google Scholar
  44. Klin, A. (1991). Young autistic childrens listening preferences in Regard to speech—a possible characterization of the symptom of social withdrawal. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 21, 29–42 doi. Doi:10.1007/Bf02206995.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Kloosterman, P. H., Keefer, K. V., Kelley, E. A., Summerfeldt, L. J., & J.D.A. Parker (2011). Evaluation of the factor structure of the autism-spectrum quotient. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 310–314. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.10.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kreiman, J., & Sidtis, D. (2011). Recognizing speaker identity from Voice: Theoretical and ethological perspectives and a psychological model, Foundations Of voice studies: An interdisciplinary approach to voice production and perception (pp, 156–188). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lavner, Y., Gath, I., & Rosenhouse, J. (2000). The effects of acoustic modifications on the identification of familiar voices speaking isolated vowels. Speech Communication, 30, 9–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lin, I. F., Yamada, T., Komine, Y., Kato, N., Kato, M., & Kashino, M. (2015). Vocal identity recognition in autism spectrum disorder. PLoS ONE, 10, e0129451. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129451.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  49. Liu, R. R., Corrow, S. L., Pancaroglu, R., Duchaine, B., & J.J.S. Barton (2015). The processing of voice identity in developmental prosopagnosia. Cortex, 71, 390–397. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2015.07.030.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Mann, V. A., Diamond, R., & Carey, S. (1979). Development of voice recognition—parallels with face recognition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 27, 153–165.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Neuner, F., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2000). Neuropsychological impairments in the recognition of faces, voices, and personal names. Brain and Cognition, 44, 342–366. doi:10.1006/brcg.1999.1196.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. O’Connor, K. (2012). Auditory processing in autism spectrum disorder: A review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 836–854. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.11.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Paul, R., Chawarska, K., Fowler, C., Cicchetti, D., & Volkmar, F. (2007). “Listen my children and you shall hear”: Auditory preferences in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 50, 1350–1364. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2007/094).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rhodes, G., Jeffery, L., Taylor, L., & Ewing, L. (2013). Autistic traits are linked to reduced adaptive coding of face identity and selectively poorer face recognition in men but not women. Neuropsychologia, 51, 2702–2708. doi:10.1016/Lneuropsychologia.2013.08.016.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Robinson, E. B., Munir, K., Munafò, M. R., Hughes, M., McCormick, M. C., & Koenen, K. C. (2011). Stability of Autistic Traits in the General Population: Further Evidence for a Continuum of Impairment. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 50, 376–384. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2011.01.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Roswandowitz, C., Mathias, S. R., Hintz, F., Kreitewolf, J., Schelinski, S., & von Kriegstein, K. (2014). Two cases of selective developmental voice-recognition impairments. Current Biology, 24, 2348–2353. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.048.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Russell, R., Duchaine, B., & Nakayama, K. (2009). Super-recognizers: People with extraordinary face recognition ability. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16, 252–257. doi:10.3758/Pbr.16.2.252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ruzich, E., et al. (2015). Measuring autistic traits in the general population: a systematic review of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) in a nonclinical population sample of 6,900 typical adult males and females. Molecular Autism, 6. doi:10.1186/2040-2392-6-2.
  59. Sasson, N. J., Nowlin, R. B., & Pinkham, A. E. (2013). Social cognition, social skill, and the broad autism phenotype. Autism, 17, 655–667. doi:10.1177/1362361312455704.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Schelinski, S., Riedel, P., & von Kriegstein, K. (2014). Visual abilities are important for auditory-only speech recognition: Evidence from autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychologia, 65, 1–11. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.09.031.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Schmidt-Nielsen, A., & Stern, K. R. (1985). Identification of known voices as a function of familiarity and narrow-band coding. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 77, 658–663. doi:10.1121/1.391884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schweinberger, S. R., Herholz, A., & Sommer, W. (1997). Recognizing famous voices: Influence of stimulus duration and different types of retrieval cues. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 40, 453–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schweinberger, S.R., H. Kawahara, A.P. Simpson, R. Zäske, V. Skuk (2014). Speaker perception. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. doi:10.1002/wcs.1261.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Sidtis, D., J. Kreiman (2012). In the beginning was the familiar voice: Personally familiar voices in the evolutionary and contemporary biology of communication. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 46, 146–159. doi:10.1007/s12124-011-9177-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Skuk, V. G., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2013). Gender differences in familiar voice identification. Hearing Research, 296, 131–140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Spence, M. J., Rollins, P. R., & Jerger, S. (2002). Children’s recognition of cartoon voices. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 45, 214–222. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Stewart, M. E., & Austin, E. J. (2009). The structure of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): Evidence from a student sample in Scotland. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 224–228. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.03.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Susilo, T., & Duchaine, B. (2013). Advances in developmental prosopagnosia research. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 23, 423–429. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2012.12.011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Van Lancker, D., & Kreiman, J. (1987). Voice discrimination and recognition are separate abilities. Neuropsychologia, 25, 829–834.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Weigelt, S., Koldewyn, K., & Kanwisher, N. (2012). Face identity recognition in autism spectrum disorders: A review of behavioral studies. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36, 1060–1084. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.12.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Whitehouse, A.J.O., Hickey, M., & Ronald, A. (2011). Are Autistic Traits in the General Population Stable across Development? PLoS ONE, 6, e23029. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023029.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  72. Wiese, H., Komes, J., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2012). Daily-life contact affects the own-age bias and neural correlates of face memory in elderly participants. Neuropsychologia, 50, 3496–3508. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.09.022.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Wilhelm, O., Herzmann, G., Kunina, O., Danthiir, V., Schacht, A., & Sommer, W. (2010). Individual differences in perceiving and recognizing Faces-one element of social cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 530–548. doi:10.1037/a0019972.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Wilmer, J. B., Germine, L., Chabris, C. F., Chatterjee, G., Gerbasi, M., & Nakayama, K. (2012). Capturing specific abilities as a window into human individuality: The example of face recognition. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 29, 360–392. doi:10.1080/02643294.2013.780378.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Wolff, N., Kemter, K., Schweinberger, S. R., & Wiese, H. (2014). What drives social in-group biases in face recognition memory? ERP evidence from the own-gender bias. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 580–590. doi:10.1093/scan/nst024.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Young, A. W., & Bruce, V. (2011). Understanding person perception. British Journal of Psychology, 102, 959–974. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02045.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Yovel, G., & Belin, P. (2013). A unified coding strategy for processing faces and voices. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17, 263–271. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2013.04.004.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  78. Zäske, R., Mühl, C., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2015). Benefits for voice learning caused by concurrent faces develop over time. PLoS ONE, 10, e0143151. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143151.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  79. Zäske, R., Volberg, G., Kovacs, G., & Schweinberger, S. R. (2014). Electrophysiological correlates of voice learning and recognition. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 10821–10831. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.0581-14.2014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verena G. Skuk
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • 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

Personalised recommendations