The cognitive representation of oneself is central to other sociocognitive processes, including relations with others. It is reflected in faster, more accurate processing of self-relevant information, a "self-prioritisation effect" (SPE) which is inconsistent across studies in autism. Across two tasks with autistic and non-autistic participants, we explored the SPE and its relationship to autistic traits, mentalizing ability and loneliness. A SPE was intact in both groups, but together the two tasks suggested a reduced tendency of late-diagnosed autistic participants to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar others and greater ease disengaging from the self-concept. Correlations too revealed a complex picture, which we attempt to explore and disentangle with reference to the inconsistency across self-processing studies in autism, highlighting implications for future research.
- Social cognition