, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 2100-2112
Date: 10 Feb 2012

Patterns of Autobiographical Memory in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract

Two studies are presented that explored the effects of experimental manipulations on the quality and accessibility of autobiographical memories in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), relative to a typical comparison group matched for age, gender and IQ. Both studies found that the adults with ASD generated fewer specific memories than the comparison group, and took significantly longer to do so. Despite this, experimental manipulations affected two indices of autobiographical memory (specificity and retrieval latency) similarly in both groups. These results suggest that adults with ASD experience a quantitative reduction in the speed and specificity of autobiographical memory retrieval, but that when they do retrieve these memories, they do so in a way that is qualitatively similar to that of typical adults.

Study Two was conducted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of a doctoral degree by the first author, with support of a 1 + 3 PhD studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), ref. PTA-030-2005-00091.