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Multidimensional Interoception and Autistic Traits Across life Stages: Evidence From a Novel Eye-tracking Task

Abstract

Interoception is believed to underlie socio-cognitive functions which are often impaired in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In this study, Experiment 1 examined in a sample of 114 neurotypical college students the associations among autistic traits, alexithymia, and interoceptive accuracy (IA), which was assessed by a novel paradigm “Eye-tracking Interoceptive Accuracy Task (EIAT). In Experiment 2, EIAT and the Autism Spectrum Quotient were administered to 52 preschool children, 50 adolescents, and 50 adults. Experiment 1 supported the association between autistic traits and alexithymia, but failed to support their association with multidimensional interoception. Experiment 2 strongly supported the association between age and IA. We conclude that cardiac IA differs between neurotypical age groups, but shows limited relationship with autistic traits.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a grant form National Science Foundation China (31970997) and the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology. No conflict of interest to be declared.

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Author Raymond C. K. Chan designed the study and wrote the protocol. Authors Han-xue Yang, Han-yu Zhou, Zhen Wei, and Guo-bin Wan managed the data collection. Author Han-xue Yang undertook the statistical analysis and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Authors Raymond C. K. Chan, Yi Wang, Tian-xiao Yang, and Simon S. Y. Lui edited the manuscript and gave critical comments. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Raymond C. K. Chan.

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Yang, Hx., Zhou, Hy., Wei, Z. et al. Multidimensional Interoception and Autistic Traits Across life Stages: Evidence From a Novel Eye-tracking Task. J Autism Dev Disord (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-05155-w

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Keywords

  • Interoception
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Alexithymia
  • Eye-tracking