Brief Report: Gender Identity Differences in Autistic Adults: Associations with Perceptual and Socio-cognitive Profiles

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Dec;48(12):4070-4078. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3702-y.


Prior research has shown an elevation in autism traits and diagnoses in individuals seen for gender related consultation and in participants self-identifying as transgender. To investigate this relationship between autism and gender identity from a new angle, we compared the self-reported autism traits and sensory differences between participants with autism who did or did not identify with their assigned sex (i.e. cisgender or trans and non-binary, respectively). We found broad elevation of most cognitive autism traits in the trans and non-binary group (those who identified with a gender other than their assigned gender), and lower visual and auditory hypersensitivity. We contrast these data to existing hypotheses and propose a role for autistic resistance to social conditioning.

Keywords: Autism; Bayesian cognition; Gender dysphoria; Gender identity; Perception; Transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Self Report
  • Social Norms