Sample size calculations were conducted using G*Power v3.134,35, on the basis of a two-tailed alpha of 0.05 and analysis within the general linear model. The necessary sample size to examine group differences in striatal dopamine synthesis capacity was calculated using a study that compared dopamine synthesis capacity in striatal regions of adults with Asperger syndrome and controls15. If results from our study would have been similar to the smallest effect and the largest standard deviation (SD) of dopamine synthesis capacity values of that study (difference in means = 0.34, SD = 0.35), we would need between 19 and 24 participants assuming a power of 0.80–0.90. Therefore, we included 24 controls.

The necessary sample size to examine the relationship between striatal dopamine synthesis capacity and loneliness in ASD was based on a study that examined the relationship between dopamine functioning and reports of childhood trauma in healthy volunteers21. Assuming a similar effect size of approximately r = 0.4 and a power of 0.80, we would need 45 participants. Therefore, the ASD sample included 45 participants.

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