A cross-cultural study of autistic traits in the general population

Abu Bakar, Safira (2022) A cross-cultural study of autistic traits in the general population. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis aimed to explore cross-cultural differences in autistic traits in the Malaysian and British general populations. Freeth et al. (2013) found that Malaysian members of the general population tend to score higher on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ; Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Skinner, et al., 2001) compared to British members of the general population, however, it is unclear whether these findings could reflect genuine cognitive differences or whether these findings are the result of a cultural bias in the questionnaires used. For the current research, I looked at each cognitive behaviour described by the subscales of the AQ in isolation to investigate these findings in detail.

Chapter 2 focused on attention-switching on both self-reported measures (the AQ, the Social Responsiveness Scale and the Cognitive Flexibility Scale) and cognition through the use of switch tasks (the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task and the Gender-Emotion Switch Task). Chapter 3 investigated social skills and communication through Theory of Mind by looking at the AQ, an additional measure of culture, the Culture Orientation Scale, the Strange Stories Task and the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task. Chapter 4 explored imagination, as captured through creativity, through self-reported autism traits (AQ) in conjunction with tasks measuring creativity (the Alternative Uses Task and a metaphor generation task). Chapter 5 examined attention to detail by looking at autism traits (AQ) along with the use of a visual search task and a face composite task.

The overall findings of this study suggest that self-reported cultural differences in autism traits are partially reflected in cognition, particularly in the domains of attention-switching and social skills and communication. However, there are also strong indicators that the differences in self-reported autism traits between Malaysian and British members of the general population are partially the product of cultural biases embedded in the questionnaires and measures used.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: de Vries, Marieke
Sheppard, Elizabeth
Keywords: autism, autistic traits, cross-cultural studies, autism spectrum quotient, malaysia
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Science and Engineering — Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 69176
Depositing User: Abu Bakar, Safira
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2022 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/69176

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