Social conformity and autism spectrum disorder : a child-friendly take on a classic study

YAFAI, A.-F., VERRIER, Diarmuid and REIDY, Lisa (2014). Social conformity and autism spectrum disorder : a child-friendly take on a classic study. Autism, 18 (8), 1007-1013.

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Link to published version:: 10.1177/1362361313508023


Perhaps surprisingly, given the importance of conformity as a theoretical construct in social psychology and the profound implications autism has for social function, little research has been done on whether autism is associated with the propensity to conform to a social majority. This study is a modern, child-friendly implementation of the classic Asch conformity studies. The performance of 15 children with autism was compared to that of 15 typically developing children on a line judgement task. Children were matched for age, gender and numeracy and literacy ability. In each trial, the child had to say which of three lines a comparison line matched in length. On some trials, children were misled as to what most people thought the answer was. Children with autism were much less likely to conform in the misleading condition than typically developing children. This finding was replicated using a continuous measure of autism traits, the Autism Quotient questionnaire, which showed that autism traits negatively correlated with likelihood to conform in the typically developing group. This study demonstrates the resistance of children with autism to social pressure.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Psychology Research Group
Identification Number: 10.1177/1362361313508023
Depositing User: Diarmuid Verrier
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2013 13:01
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 14:22

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