Should I trust you? Autistic traits predict reduced appearance-based trust decisions

Jasmine J. Hooper, Clare A. M. Sutherland (Corresponding Author), Louise Ewing, Robyn Langdon, Nathan Caruana, Emily Connaughton, Nikolas Williams, Jayden Greenwell-Barnden, Gillian Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Facial impressions of trustworthiness guide social decisions in the general population, as shown by financial lending in economic Trust Games. As an exception, autistic boys fail to use facial impressions to guide trust decisions, despite forming typical facial trustworthiness impressions (Autism, 19, 2015a, 1002). Here, we tested whether this dissociation between forming and using facial impressions of trustworthiness extends to neurotypical men with high levels of autistic traits. Forty‐six Caucasian men completed a multi‐turn Trust Game, a facial trustworthiness impressions task, the Autism‐Spectrum Quotient, and two Theory of Mind tasks. As hypothesized, participants’ levels of autistic traits had no observed effect on the impressions formed, but negatively predicted the use of those impressions in trust decisions. Thus, the dissociation between forming and using facial impressions of trustworthiness extends to the broader autism phenotype. More broadly, our results identify autistic traits as an important source of individual variation in the use of facial impressions to guide behaviour. Interestingly, failure to use these impressions could potentially represent rational behaviour, given their limited validity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Early online date13 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2018

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Autistic Disorder
Theory of Mind
Economics
Phenotype
Population
Trustworthiness
Dissociation
Autism

Keywords

  • autistic traits
  • facial impressions
  • trust behaviour
  • individual differences
  • broader autistic phenotypes
  • facial trustworthiness

Cite this

Should I trust you? Autistic traits predict reduced appearance-based trust decisions. / Hooper, Jasmine J.; Sutherland, Clare A. M. (Corresponding Author); Ewing, Louise; Langdon, Robyn; Caruana, Nathan; Connaughton, Emily; Williams, Nikolas; Greenwell-Barnden, Jayden; Rhodes, Gillian.

In: British Journal of Psychology, 13.11.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hooper, JJ, Sutherland, CAM, Ewing, L, Langdon, R, Caruana, N, Connaughton, E, Williams, N, Greenwell-Barnden, J & Rhodes, G 2018, 'Should I trust you? Autistic traits predict reduced appearance-based trust decisions' British Journal of Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12357
Hooper, Jasmine J. ; Sutherland, Clare A. M. ; Ewing, Louise ; Langdon, Robyn ; Caruana, Nathan ; Connaughton, Emily ; Williams, Nikolas ; Greenwell-Barnden, Jayden ; Rhodes, Gillian. / Should I trust you? Autistic traits predict reduced appearance-based trust decisions. In: British Journal of Psychology. 2018.
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abstract = "Facial impressions of trustworthiness guide social decisions in the general population, as shown by financial lending in economic Trust Games. As an exception, autistic boys fail to use facial impressions to guide trust decisions, despite forming typical facial trustworthiness impressions (Autism, 19, 2015a, 1002). Here, we tested whether this dissociation between forming and using facial impressions of trustworthiness extends to neurotypical men with high levels of autistic traits. Forty‐six Caucasian men completed a multi‐turn Trust Game, a facial trustworthiness impressions task, the Autism‐Spectrum Quotient, and two Theory of Mind tasks. As hypothesized, participants’ levels of autistic traits had no observed effect on the impressions formed, but negatively predicted the use of those impressions in trust decisions. Thus, the dissociation between forming and using facial impressions of trustworthiness extends to the broader autism phenotype. More broadly, our results identify autistic traits as an important source of individual variation in the use of facial impressions to guide behaviour. Interestingly, failure to use these impressions could potentially represent rational behaviour, given their limited validity.",
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