Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 383–391

Brief Report: Self-defining and Everyday Autobiographical Memories in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Brief Report

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0875-4

Cite this article as:
Crane, L., Goddard, L. & Pring, L. J Autism Dev Disord (2010) 40: 383. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0875-4


Autobiographical memory impairments in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been attributed to a failure in using the self as an effective memory organisational system. To explore this hypothesis, we compared self-defining and everyday memories in adults with and without ASD. Results demonstrated that both groups were able to distinguish between self-defining and everyday memories, although the ASD group generated fewer specific memories overall. Despite qualitative similarities between the narratives of the two groups, the adults with ASD extracted less meaning from their narratives. Difficulties in eliciting meaning from memories suggests a failure in using past experiences to update the self. We therefore propose that the self-memory relationship might be static, rather than dynamic, in ASD.


Autism Autobiographical memory Self-defining memory Meaning making 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, GoldsmithsUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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