Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 670–677 | Cite as

Brief Report: Visuospatial Analysis and Self-Rated Autistic-Like Traits

  • Emma J. GrinterEmail author
  • Pia L. Van Beek
  • Murray T. Maybery
  • David R. Badcock
Brief Report


Although there is good evidence that the behavioral traits of autism extend in lesser form to the general population, there has been limited investigation of whether cognitive features of the disorder also accompany these milder traits. This study investigated whether the superiority in visuospatial analysis established for individuals with autism also extends to individuals in the general population who self-report autistic-like traits. In an initial study, students scoring high on the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ) were faster and more accurate on the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) and the Block Design subscale of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale III compared to those scoring low on the AQ. A second study showed that high AQ scorers were faster to complete the EFT compared to low AQ scorers irrespective of IQ. Results are discussed with reference to weak central coherence theory and the autism spectrum.


Autism Autistic-like traits Embedded figures task Visuospatial analysis Weak central coherence 



The authors would like to thank four anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This research was supported by NH&MRC Project Grant 403942 to M. T. Maybery, D. R. Badcock, J. C. Badcock and E. Pellicano.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma J. Grinter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pia L. Van Beek
    • 1
  • Murray T. Maybery
    • 1
  • David R. Badcock
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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