Self-categorization and Autism: Exploring the Relationship Between Autistic Traits and Ingroup Favouritism in the Minimal Group Paradigm

  • Kristen Bertschy
  • Daniel P. SkorichEmail author
  • S. Alexander Haslam
Original Paper


The Integrated self-categorization model of autism (ISCA) argues that a self-categorization dysfunction could be the link between some of the disparate features of ASD. To the extent that this is true, any social psychological phenomena arising from self-categorization should be impaired in autistic people. Based on this premise, we investigated whether ingroup favouritism within the minimal group paradigm is reduced to the extent that individuals possess autistic traits. Results indicated that participants with a high proportion of autistic traits showed less ingroup favouritism, and that this was due to a decreased tendency for self-categorization. By providing evidence of the disruption of self-categorization in ASD, these findings lend support to ISCA and raise important issues for existing accounts of the disorder.


Autism Ingroup favouritism Self-categorization Minimal group paradigm 


Author Contributions

DPS and SAH conceived of the idea of the study reported in the paper, with significant input from KB in the study design phase of the project. KB analysed the data with help from DPS. KB wrote the first draft of the paper with significant input from SAH. DPS was responsible for the final draft of the paper, with input from KB and SAH.


This research was supported by the Australian Research Council (Grant No. FLFL110100199) and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Social Interactions Identity and Well-Being Program).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study reported in this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen Bertschy
    • 1
  • Daniel P. Skorich
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Alexander Haslam
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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