To examine the personality profiles of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using a standard personality assessment and to investigate the association between personality, ASD-related face memory deficit (FMD), and theory of mind (ToM). In a broader context, to examine whether there are distinct clinical phenotypes in the ASD population that have implications for personality development and treatment.
Fifty-five adults with ASD and 22 neurotypical (NT) adults underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests, including measures of personality, face memory, and ToM. We compared ASD and NT groups in terms of their Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) profiles. Additional analyses focused on the association between specific PAI scales and FMD. Performance on the Eyes Test was compared across groups and was examined in relation to FMD.
Adults with ASD demonstrated significant elevations on several PAI scales compared with NT adults. The presence of FMD was associated with differing PAI profiles among the ASD adults. The ASD adults with FMD scored significantly higher on scales that are sensitive to positive impression management and treatment rejection and significantly lower on scales that are sensitive to borderline personality, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and stress. There was a significant association between performance on the Eyes Test and FMD in the ASD group.
Adults with ASD have a unique personality profile. Further, ASD adults with FMD have reduced insight into their difficulties with emotional processing and may not be as sensitive as ASD adults without FMD to the emotions of others.

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.