Recent research suggests that individuals with relatively weak global precedence (i.e., a smaller propensity to view visual stimuli in a configural manner) show a reduced face inversion effect (FIE). Coupled with such findings, a number of recent studies have demonstrated links between an advantage for feature-based processing and the presentation of traits associated with autism among the general population. The present study sought to bridge these findings by investigating whether a relationship exists between the possession of autism-associated traits (i.e., as indicated by individuals’“autism quotient” [(AQ) and the size of the FIE. Participants completed an on-line study in which the AQ was measured prior to a standard face recognition task where half of the faces were inverted at test. The results confirmed that higher AQ levels were predictive of smaller FIEs. Implications for a common underlying factor relating to processing orientation are discussed.
- autism-spectrum quotient
- face inversion effect
- configural versus feature-based processing