A high Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ) score (Baron-Cohen et al. in J Autism Dev Disord 31(1):5–17, 2001) is increasingly used as a proxy in empirical studies of perceptual mechanisms in autism. Several investigations have assessed perception in non-autistic people measured for AQ, claiming the same relationship exists between performance on perceptual tasks in high-AQ individuals as observed in autism. We question whether the similarity in performance by high-AQ individuals and autistics reflects the same underlying perceptual cause in the context of two visual search tasks administered to a large sample of typical individuals assessed for AQ. Our results indicate otherwise and that deploying the AQ as a proxy for autism introduces unsubstantiated assumptions about high-AQ individuals, the endophenotypes they express, and their relationship to Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) individuals.