Enhanced basic perceptual discrimination has been reported for pitch in individuals with autism spectrum conditions. We test whether there is a correlational pattern of enhancement across the broader autism phenotype and whether this correlation occurs for the discrimination of pitch, time and loudness. Scores on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient correlated significantly with the pitch discrimination (r = -0.51, p < 0.05) and the time-interval discrimination (r = -0.45, p < 0.05) task that were based on a fixed reference. No correlation was found for intensity discrimination based on a fixed reference, nor for a variable reference based time-interval discrimination. The correlations suggest a relationship between autistic traits and the ability to form an enhanced, stable and highly accurate representation of auditory events in the pitch and time dimensions.
Keywords: Audition; Autism-Spectrum Quotient; Enhanced representation; Loudness; Pitch; Sensory processing; Time.