The ‘self-bias’-i.e., the human proneness to preferentially process self-relevant stimuli-is thought to be important for both self-related and social processing. Previous research operationalized the self-bias using different paradigms, assessing the size of the self-bias within a single cognitive domain. Recent studies suggested a reduced self-bias in autism, yet findings are inconsistent. The lack of consensus across existing studies may result from variation in paradigms and cognitive domains tested. Therefore, the primary goal of the current study was to investigate whether self-biases found across cognitive domains (i.e., perception, memory, attention) are related or independent. The secondary goal was to explore the relationship between these self-biases and the extent of autistic traits in a neurotypical sample.
In an online procedure, 99 Dutch-speaking adults performed three self-processing tasks in counterbalanced order-i.e., the shape-label matching task (perception), the trait adjectives task (memory) and the visual search task (attention)-and completed two self-report measures of ASD symptomatology, i.e., AQ-10 and SRS-A. To control for level of familiarity, self-, close other- and famous other-relevant stimuli were included in each task. Repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted for each task, and both frequentist as well as Bayesian analyses were applied to investigate the correlational patterns between self-bias measures.
We observed significant correlations of the self-bias magnitude between memory and attention, as well as attention and perception. However, Bayesian analysis provided only weak support for the latter association. Further, the size of the self-bias was not significantly related across memory and perception. No significant correlation between autistic traits and the self-bias magnitude was found for any of the three tasks, with Bayesian analyses strongly favoring the null hypothesis.
In contrast with the view of a ‘unidimensional’ self-bias, our findings provide evidence for a heterogeneous and multifaceted self consisting of a variety of related and unrelated aspects. None of the self-bias indices were found to relate to autistic traits in our neurotypical sample.

© 2021. The Author(s).