Autistic-like and schizotypal traits in a life history perspective: Diametrical associations with impulsivity, sensation seeking, and sociosexual behavior

Marco Del Giudice, Amanda C.E. Klimczuk, Daniel M. Traficonte, Dario Maestripieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to recent theoretical models, autistic-like and schizotypal traits can be regarded as opposite sides of a single continuum of variation in personality and cognition, and may be diametrically associated with individual differences in life history strategies. In this view, schizotypy is a psychological phenotype oriented toward high mating effort and reduced parenting, consistent with a fast life history strategy, whereas autistic-like traits contribute to a slow strategy characterized by reduced mating effort and high parental investment. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that autistic-like and schizotypal traits would be diametrically associated with unrestricted sociosexuality, impulsivity, and sensation seeking (three key behavioral correlates of fast life history strategies in humans) in a sample of 152 young adults (18-38 years). The results were consistent with a diametrical autism-schizotypy axis of individual variation. In line with our hypotheses, autism-schizotypy scores were uniquely associated with individual differences in impulsivity, sensation seeking, and sociosexual behavior, even after controlling for variation in Big Five personality traits. However, we found no significant associations with sociosexual attitude in the present sample. Our findings provide additional support for a life history model of autistic-like and schizotypal traits and demonstrate the heuristic value of this approach in the study of personality and psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-424
Number of pages10
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autistic-like traits
  • Diametrical model
  • Impulsivity
  • Life history strategy
  • Schizotypal traits
  • Sexual selection
  • Sociosexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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