What are replicable aspects of the Broader Autism Phenotype among college students? The answer is not reduced prosocial behaviors

Ariana Riccio, Steven Kenneth Kapp, Nidal Daou, Jacob Shane, Kristen Gillespie-Lynch

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Abstract

Are people with heightened autistic traits less likely to help other people? Recent research suggests that heightened autistic traits are associated with reduced self-reported prosocial behavior among college students. However, the growing literature examining sub-clinical traits associated with autism, or the Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP), among college students has invested insufficient attention in replication of findings, potential interrelationships between constructs, or the degree to which social desirability bias may contribute to findings. To identify replicable aspects of the BAP, we administered a battery of measures to 391 undergraduate students. Replicating prior work, findings suggested that self-reported difficulties understanding the self and others (but not less feeling for others) and sensory atypicalities are core aspects of the BAP. Reduced social desirability bias was also associated with the BAP. Prior associations between reduced prosocial tendencies and the BAP were not replicated. Findings highlight the importance of assessing multiple potential aspects of the BAP, particularly reduced susceptibility to the social desirability bias, when using self-report measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages13
JournalCollabra: Psychology
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Broader Autism Phenotype
  • prosocial
  • theory of mind
  • alexithymia
  • social desirability bias
  • sensory processing

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