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dc.contributor.authorDe Silva, Dilshara Sheramy-
dc.descriptionThis item is only available electronically.en
dc.description.abstractHumans learn the probabilities of socially rewarding and punishing stimuli (such as facial expressions of basic emotions) to coordinate appropriate responses to their environment, and subsequently navigate social interaction. Many cases of autistic tendencies, a neurodevelopmental condition hallmarked by deficits in social communication and reduced responsiveness to socially rewarding faces, are comorbid with social anxiety, characterised by severe distress and a tendency to avoid socially punishing faces. Both conditions affect the rate of social reinforcement learning patterns. Therefore, it is unclear how much autistic tendencies or co-occurring social anxiety symptoms predict aberrant learning patterns. Thus, we aimed to explore whether social anxiety mediates or moderates this relationship. Participants were recruited from the general population and completed a learning task that assessed their selection of which facial expressions (happy and angry) were followed by a positive or negative outcome. Additionally, questionnaires were administered to measure autistic tendencies and social anxiety symptoms. Regression analyses demonstrated no significant relationships between the predictors and social reward learning (approaching happy faces). However, consistent with the literature, an interaction between autistic tendencies and social anxiety predicted aberrant social punishment learning (avoiding angry faces). Therefore, the level of social anxiety is an important moderator in understanding the broad expression of social deficit symptoms in comorbid diagnoses. Although further research is needed for reward learning, our results implicate that certain individual differences are associated with increased social avoidance tendencies, therapists could tailor treating this bias based on the severity of autistic tendencies and social anxiety in an individual.en
dc.subjectHonours; Psychologyen
dc.titleThe Relationship between Autistic Tendencies, Social Anxiety and Reinforcement Learningen
dc.contributor.schoolSchool of Psychology-
dc.provenanceThis electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
dc.description.dissertationThesis (B.PsychSc(Hons)) -- University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, 2020-
Appears in Collections:School of Psychology

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