People With Autism Spectrum Conditions Make More Consistent Decisions.
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Farmer, G., Baron-Cohen, S., & Skylark, W. (2017). People With Autism Spectrum Conditions Make More Consistent Decisions.. Psychological science, 28 1067-1076. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617694867
People with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) show reduced sensitivity to contextual stimuli in many perceptual and cognitive tasks. We investigated whether this also applies to decision-making by having adult participants make a series of choices between consumer products. Participants’ preferences between a given pair of options frequently switched when the third item in the set was changed, but this tendency was reduced among individuals with ASC, indicating more consistent and conventionally rational choices. A comparison of people with low- vs high-levels of autistic traits drawn from the general population revealed a weaker version of the same effect. The reduced context-sensitivity was not due to differences in noisy responding, and although the ASC group took longer over their decisions this did not account for the enhanced consistency of their choices. The results extend the characterization of autistic cognition as relatively context-insensitive to a new domain, with practical implications for socio-economic behaviour.
This research was funded by the Wellcome Trust research grant number RG76641 and Isaac Newton Trust research grant number RG70368.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617694867
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/263224
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