A fundamental task of the cognitive system is to prioritize behaviourally relevant sensory inputs for processing at the expense of irrelevant inputs. In a study of neurotypical participants (nÂ =Â 179), we utilized a brief flanker interference task while varying the perceptual load of the visual display. Typically, increasing perceptual load (i.e., with greater numbers of search items) reduces interference from a competing peripheral distractor. We show that individuals who score above average on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) show stronger interference at high perceptual load than individuals with below-average AQ scores. This is consistent with recent findings in individuals with autism spectrum conditions, and supports the idea that the cognitive style of the autistic brain is reflected in a broader phenotype across the population.
- \'a visual se
- spectrum quotient \'a
- perceptual load \'a attention
- flanker task \'a autism