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02-04-2021 | Original Paper Open Access

Contagion of Temporal Discounting Value Preferences in Neurotypical and Autistic Adults

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Louisa Thomas, Patricia L. Lockwood, Mona M. Garvert, Joshua H. Balsters
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-021-04962-5.

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Neuroeconomics paradigms have demonstrated that learning about another’s beliefs can make you more like them (i.e., contagion). Due to social deficits in autism, it is possible that autistic individuals will be immune to contagion. We fit Bayesian computational models to a temporal discounting task, where participants made decisions for themselves before and after learning the distinct preferences of two others. Two independent neurotypical samples (N = 48; N = 98) both showed a significant contagion effect; however the strength of contagion was unrelated to autistic traits. Equivalence tests showed autistic (N = 12) and matched neurotypical N = 12) samples had similar levels of contagion and accuracy when learning about others. Despite social impairments being at the core of autistic symptomatology, contagion of value preferences appears to be intact.

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