Although there is good evidence that the behavioral traits of autism extend in lesser form to the general population, there has been limited investigation of whether cognitive features of the disorder also accompany these milder traits. This study investigated whether the superiority in visuospatial analysis established for individuals with autism also extends to individuals in the general population who self-report autistic-like traits. In an initial study, students scoring high on the Autism-spectrum Quotient (AQ) were faster and more accurate on the Embedded Figures Test (EFT) and the Block Design subscale of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale III compared to those scoring low on the AQ. A second study showed that high AQ scorers were faster to complete the EFT compared to low AQ scorers irrespective of IQ. Results are discussed with reference to weak central coherence theory and the autism spectrum.
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