Autism Tendencies and Psychosis Proneness Interactively Modulate Saliency Cost

Schizophr Bull. 2017 Jan;43(1):142-151. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw066. Epub 2016 May 23.


Atypical responses to salient information are a candidate endophenotype for both autism and psychosis spectrum disorders. The present study investigated the costs and benefits of such atypicalities for saliency-based selection in a large cohort of neurotypical adults in whom both autism and psychosis expressions were assessed. Two experiments found that autism tendencies and psychosis proneness interactively modulated the cost incurred in the presence of a task-irrelevant salient distractor. Specifically, expressions of autism and psychosis had opposing effects on responses to salient information such that the benefits associated with high expressions for autism offset costs associated with high expressions for psychosis. The opposing influences observed on saliency cost may be driven by distinct attentional mechanisms that are differentially affected by expressions for autism and psychosis.

Keywords: autism; cognitive control; interindividual differences; salience; schizotypy; selective attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Facial Recognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult