Article here. The task was to compare USB drives based on capacity and lifespan. Autistic people were less affected by the presence of really stupid 3rd choices.
The data revealed that, compared with neurotypical participants, participants with ASC made more consistent choices and made fewer switches in their selections.
In a second experiment, the researchers recruited participants from the general population, administering the same task with only those who scored in the bottom and top deciles of a validated measure of traits typically associated with autism. Their results showed an attenuated pattern similar to that seen in the first experiment: Participants who scored high on autistic traits were more likely to make consistent choices compared with low-scoring participants.
Together, the findings indicate that individuals with ASC are less likely to show a cognitive bias that often affects their neurotypical peers.
“[C]hoice consistency is regarded as normative in conventional economic theory, so reduced context sensitivity would provide a new demonstration that autism is not in all respects a ‘disability’,” the researchers write in their paper.
“These findings suggest that people with autism might be less susceptible to having their choices biased by the way information is presented to them—for instance, via marketing tricks when choosing between consumer products,” Farmer adds.
The results also indicate that the reduced sensitivity to context that is associated with ASC may extend well beyond low-level cognitive processes, shedding new light on the nature of “autistic cognition,” the researchers argue:
“Altered preferences in a choice task involving verbally described consumer products would suggest the need for a broader characterization and integrated theorizing across levels and domains of processing,” they conclude.
In the ethical domain, “reduced sensitivity to context” can mean actually using principles.