People With ASD Risk Being Manipulated Because They Can't Tell When They're Being Lied To

Posted on May 31, 2018

Researchers, led by Professor David Williams of the University of Kent, found that lie detection ability is 'significantly diminished' in those with a full ASD diagnosis. It is also related to how many ASD traits people in the general population have where the more traits, the poorer the deception detection ability.

The study was done on participants exhibiting varying degrees of ASD and compared them to those who were deemed 'neurotypical' or not displaying autistic patterns of thought or behavior. During the study, participants were shown a number of videos of people responding to questions about their earlier participation in an experiment during which they had an opportunity to cheat by looking at an answer sheet while the experimenter was out of the room. All the people in the video denied cheating, but some of them had looked at the answer sheet. Participants had to judge whether the people in each video were lying or not. It was found that those with a diagnosis of ASD and those from the general population with a high number of ASD traits found it difficult to make an inference about deceit, even when such cues were available.

The researchers suggest that limited social engagement among people with ASD, as well as neurotypical people with a relatively high number of ASD traits, may result in a failure to learn the social cues that indicate deceit. It is important to consider whether training individuals with ASD to detect behavioral indicators of lying would be beneficial for them.

In conclusion, if such training were successful, it would represent a significant opportunity to enhance the lives of a group of people with ASD who, on the basis of these results and anecdotal reports, are clearly susceptible to exploitation by others.

Category(s):Autism spectrum disorders

Source material from Science Daily

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