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Face Identity Recognition and the Social Difficulties Component of the Autism-Like Phenotype: Evidence for Phenotypic and Genetic Links.

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Mar 16;:

Authors: Lewis GJ, Shakeshaft NG, Plomin R

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism-like traits are associated with deficits in face memory ability, although it is not yet clear whether this deficit reflects a specific aspect of the ASD/autism-like phenotype. We addressed this issue using a neurotypical sample of adolescent twins (Ncomplete pairs = 782) drawn from the Twins Early Development Study who were assessed on face and object memory performance alongside two core aspects of autism-like traits: (i) difficulties with social behavior/interactions, and (ii) attention to detail. We observed a negative association between face memory ability and difficulties with social behavior/interactions. This association reflected an overlapping genetic etiology: heritable influences acting on face memory ability are associated with the social difficulties aspects of autism-like traits.

PMID: 29549550 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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