Dysfunctions in Infants’ Statistical Learning are Related to Parental Autistic Traits

Roberta Bettoni, Valentina Riva, Chiara Cantiani, Elena Maria Riboldi, Massimo Molteni, Viola Macchi Cassia, Hermann Bulf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Statistical learning refers to the ability to extract the statistical relations embedded in a sequence, and it plays a crucial role in the development of communicative and social skills that are impacted in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the relationship between infants’ SL ability and autistic traits in their parents. Using a visual habituation task, we tested infant offspring of adults (non-diagnosed) who show high (HAT infants) versus low (LAT infants) autistic traits. Results demonstrated that LAT infants learned the statistical structure embedded in a visual sequence, while HAT infants failed. Moreover, infants’ SL ability was related to autistic traits in their parents, further suggesting that early dysfunctions in SL might contribute to variabilities in ASD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4621-4631
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Autistic traits
  • Early marker
  • Infants
  • Visual statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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