The Relationship Between Autism and Pitch Perception is Modulated by Cognitive Abilities

Jia Hoong Ong, Chen Zhao, Florence Y N Leung, Alex Bacon, Anamarija Veic, Li Wang, Cunmei Jiang, Fang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Previous studies reported mixed findings on autistic individuals’ pitch perception relative to neurotypical (NT) individuals. We investigated whether this may be partly due to individual differences in cognitive abilities by comparing their performance on various pitch perception tasks on a large sample (n = 164) of autistic and NT children and adults. Our findings revealed that: (i) autistic individuals either showed similar or worse performance than NT individuals on the pitch tasks; (ii) cognitive abilities were associated with some pitch task performance; and (iii) cognitive abilities modulated the relationship between autism diagnosis and pitch perception on some tasks. Our findings highlight the importance of taking an individual differences approach to understand the strengths and weaknesses of pitch processing in autism.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant (CAASD, 678733) awarded to FL and CJ. JHO was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 887283. The funding bodies had no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.


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