The social difficulties of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are typically explained as a disruption in the Shared Attention Mechanism (SAM) sub-component of the theory of mind (ToM) system. In the current paper, we explore the hypothesis that SAM’s capacity to construct the self-other-object relations necessary for shared-attention arises from a self-categorization process, which is weaker among those with more autistic-like traits. We present participants with self-categorization and shared-attention tasks, and measure their autism-spectrum quotient (AQ). Results reveal a negative relationship between AQ and shared-attention, via self-categorization, suggesting a role for self-categorization in the disruption in SAM seen in ASD. Implications for intervention, and for a ToM model in which weak central coherence plays a role are discussed.