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17-11-2020 | Original Paper Open Access

Sensitivity to Social Agency in Autistic Adults

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Emma J. Morgan, Thomas Foulsham, Megan Freeth
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The presence of other people, whether real or implied, can have a profound impact on our behaviour. However, it is argued that autistic individuals show decreased interest in social phenomena, which leads to an absence of these effects. In this study, the agency of a cue was manipulated such that the cue was either described as representing a computer program or the eye movements of another participant. Both neurotypical and autistic participants demonstrated a social facilitation effect and were significantly more accurate on a prediction task when they believed the cue represented another participant. This demonstrates that whilst autistic adults may show difficulties in interpreting social behaviour this does not necessarily arise from a lack of sensitivity to social agency.

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