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Revisiting the ownership effect in adults with and without autism

Smith, M., Williams, D., Lind, S. E. ORCID: 0000-0002-6165-9832 & Ferguson, H. J. (2023). Revisiting the ownership effect in adults with and without autism. PLoS One, 18(12), article number e0293898. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0293898


Self-owned items are better remembered than other-owned items; this ownership effect reflects privileged processing of self-related information. The size of this ownership effect has been shown to decrease in neurotypical adults as the number of autistic traits increases, and is reduced in autistic adults. However, emerging evidence has questioned the reliability of these findings. This paper aimed to replicate previous work using well-powered, pre-registered designs, and Bayesian analyses. Experiment 1 (N = 100) found a significant ownership effect in neurotypical adults; however, the size of this was unrelated to individual differences in autistic traits. Experiment 2 (N = 56) found an ownership effect in neurotypical but not autistic adults. The findings suggest that individual differences in autistic traits in the neurotypical population do not impact the ownership effect, but a clinical diagnosis of autism might. We discuss how these findings can be explained by differences in psychological self-awareness in autism.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2023 Smith et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Publisher Keywords: Adult; Child; Humans; Autistic Disorder; Ownership; Bayes Theorem; Reproducibility of Results; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive; Autism Spectrum Disorder
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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