Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 533–542 | Cite as

Source Memory in Adolescents and Adults with Asperger's Syndrome

  • Dermot M. Bowler
  • John M. Gardiner
  • Natasha Berthollier


Memory difficulties in autism are observed mainly on measures like free recall, where test procedures provide no support for memory. When support is present, such as in cued recall, difficulties are less evident. Such observations may explain the mixed findings on source memory in autism. Bennetto, Pennington and Rogers (Child Development, 67, 1816–1835) found increased earlier-list intrusions in a multi-list free-recall paradigm (support absent), yet Farrant, Blades and Boucher (Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 43–50) reported no impairment in identification of who had spoken a particular word at study (support present). We tested the effects on source memory of presence or absence of support for source in participants with Asperger's syndrome. The Asperger participants' overall deficit in source memory was largely eliminated when source was supported at test.

Asperger's syndrome source memory recognition recall task support 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ameli, R., Courchesne, E., Lincoln, A., Kaufman, A. S., & Grillon, C. (1988). Visual memory processes in high-func-tioning individuals with autism. Journal of Autism and Devel-opmental Disorders, 18, 601–615.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statisti-cal manual of mental disorders, (4th ed.). Washington, D. C.: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  3. Barth, C., Fein, D., & Waterhouse, L. (1995). Delayed match-to-sample performance in autistic children. Developmental Neu-ropsychology, 11, 53–69.Google Scholar
  4. Bennetto, L., Pennington, B. F., & Rogers, S. J. (1996). Intact and impaired memory function in autism. Child Develop-ment, 67, 1816–1835.Google Scholar
  5. Biró, S., & Russell, J. (2001). The execution of arbitrary proce-dures by children with autism. Development and Psychopa-thology, 13, 97–110.Google Scholar
  6. Boucher, J. (2001). Lost in a sea of time:Time parsing and aut-ism. In C. Hoerl, & T. McCormack (Eds. ), Time and mem-ory:issues in philosophy and psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Boucher, J., & Lewis, V. (1989). Memory impairments and com-munication in relatively able autistic children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30, 99–122.Google Scholar
  8. Boucher, J., & Warrington, E. (1976). Memory de cits in early infantile autism:Some similarities to the amnesic syndrome. British Journal of Psychology, 67, 73–87.Google Scholar
  9. Bowler, D. M., Gardiner, J. M., & Grice, S. (2000a). Episodic memory and remembering in adults with Asperger's syn-drome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 305–316.Google Scholar
  10. Bowler, D. M., Gardiner, J. M., Grice, S., & Saavalainen, P. (2000b). Memory illusions:False recall and recognition in adults with Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Abnormal Psy-chology, 109, 663–672.Google Scholar
  11. Bowler, D. M., Matthews, N. J., & Gardiner, J. M. (1997). As-perger's syndrome and memory:Similarity to autism but not amnesia. Neuropsychologia, 35, 65–70.Google Scholar
  12. Craik, F. I. M., & Anderson, N. D. (1999). Applying cognitive research to the problems of ageing. Attention and Perfor-mance, 17, 583–615.Google Scholar
  13. Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learn-ing and Verbal Behavior, 11, 671–674.Google Scholar
  14. Craik, F. I. M., Morris. L. W., Morris, R. G., & Loewen, E. R. (1990). Relations between source amnesia and frontal lobe functioning in older adults. Psychology and Aging, 5, 148–151.Google Scholar
  15. Delis, D. C., Kramer, J. H., Caplan, E., & Ober, B. A. (1986). The California verbal learning test —research edition. New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  16. Dewhurst, S. A., & Hitch, G. J. (1999). Cognitive effort and recol-lective experience in recognition memory. Memory, 7, 129–146.Google Scholar
  17. Dunn, L. M., Dunn, L. M., Whetton, C., & Pintillie, D. (1982). British picture vocabulary scale. London: NFER-Nelson.Google Scholar
  18. Farrant, A., Blades, M., & Boucher, J. (1998). Source monitoring in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 43–50.Google Scholar
  19. Foley, M. A., Johnson, M. K., & Raye, C. L. (1983). Confusions between memories for performed and imagined actions:A developmental comparison. Child Development, 54, 51–60.Google Scholar
  20. Fuster, J. M. (1989). The prefrontal cortex (2nd ed. ). New York: Raven Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gardiner, J. M. (2001). Episodic memory and autonoetic con-sciousness:A first-person approach. Philosophical Transac-tions of the Royal Society:Biological Sciences, 356, 1351–1361.Google Scholar
  22. Gardiner, J. M., Bowler, D. M., & Grice, S. (2003). Further evi-dence of preserved priming and impaired recall in adults with Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Autism and Develop-mental Disorders, 33, 259–269.Google Scholar
  23. Gillberg, C., & Gillberg, I. C. (1989). Asperger syndrome —some epidemiological considerations:A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30, 631–638.Google Scholar
  24. Hermelin, B., & O'Connor, N. (1967). Remembering of words by psychotic and subnormal children. British Journal of Psy-chology, 58, 213–218.Google Scholar
  25. Hermelin, B., & O'Connor, N. (1975). The recall of digits by nor-mal, deaf and autistic children. British Journal of Psychology, 66, 203–209.Google Scholar
  26. Hughes, C., & Russell, J. (1993). Autistic children's di. culty with mental disengagement from an object:Its implications for theories of autism. Developmental Psychology, 29, 498–510.Google Scholar
  27. Hughes, C., Russell, J., & Robbins, T. W. (1994). Evidence for executive dysfunction in autism. Neuropsychologia, 32, 477–492.Google Scholar
  28. Huron, C., Danion, J.-M., Giacomoni, F., Grange, D., Robert, P., & Rizzo, L. (1995). Impairment of recognition memory with, but not without, conscious recollection in schizophre-nia. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 1737–1742.Google Scholar
  29. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Ner-vous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
  30. Levine, B., Black, S. E., Cabeza, R., Sinden, M., McIntosh, A. R., Toth, J. P. et al. (1998). Episodic memory and the self in a case of isolated retrograde amnesia. Brain, 121, 1951–1973.Google Scholar
  31. Minshew, N., Goldstein, G., Muenz, L. R., & Payton, J. (1992). Neuropsychological functioning in non-mentally retarded autistic individuals. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 14, 749–761.Google Scholar
  32. Minshew, N., Goldstein, G., Taylor, H., & Siegel, D. (1994). Academic achievement in high-functioning autistic individu-als. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 16, 261–270.Google Scholar
  33. O'Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1967). Auditory and visual mem-ory in autistic and normal children. Journal of Mental De-ciency Research, 1, 126–131.Google Scholar
  34. O'Connor, N., & Hermelin, B. (1978). Seeing and hearing and space and time. London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  35. Ozono., S., & McEvoy, R. E. (1994). A longitudinal study of executive function and theory of mind development in aut-ism. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 415–431.Google Scholar
  36. Ozono., S., Pennington, B. F., & Rogers, S. J. (1991). Executive function de cits in high-functioning autistic individuals: Relationship to theory of mind. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 32, 1081–1105.Google Scholar
  37. Parkin, A. J., & Walter, B. (1992). Recollective experience, nor-mal aging, and frontal dysfunction. Psychology and Aging, 7, 290–298.Google Scholar
  38. Perfect, T. J., Mayes, A. R., Downes, J. J. & Van Eijk, R. (1996). Does context discriminate recollection from familiar-ity in recognition memory? Quarterly Journal of Experimen-tal Psychology A, 49, 797–813.Google Scholar
  39. Roediger, H. III, & McDermott, K. (1993). Implicit memory in normal human subjects. In M. Spinnler, F. Boller (Eds. )., Handbook of neuropsychology. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  40. Rumsey, J. M., & Hamburger, S. D. (1988). Neuropsychological ndings in high-functioning autistic men with infantile autism, residual state. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 10, 201–221.Google Scholar
  41. Shimamura, A. P. (1996). The role of the prefrontal cortex in con-trolling and monitoring memory processes. In L. M. Reber (Ed. ), Implicit memory and metacognition (pp. 259–274). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Slamecka, N. J. & Graf, P. (1978). The generation effect:Delin-eation of a phenomenon. Journal of Experimental Psychol-ogy:Human Learning and Memory, 14, 592–604.Google Scholar
  43. Summers, J. A., & Craik, F. I. M. (1994). The effects of subject-performed tasks on the memory performance of verbal autis-tic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 773–783.Google Scholar
  44. Tager-Flusberg, H. (1991). Semantic processing in the free recall of autistic children. British Journal of Developmental Psychol-ogy, 9, 417–430.Google Scholar
  45. Thorndike, E. L., & Lorge, I. (1944). The teacher's handbook of 30, 000 words. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Tulving, E. (1985). Memory and consciousness. Canadian Psy-chology, 26, 1–12.Google Scholar
  47. Tulving, E. (2002). Episodic memory:from mind to brain. Annual Review of Psychology, 53, 1–25.Google Scholar
  48. Volkmar, F. R., Klin, A., Schultz, R., Bronen, R., Marans, W. D., Sparrow, S., et al. (1996). Asperger's syndrome. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35, 118–123.Google Scholar
  49. Wheeler, M. A., & Stuss, D. T. (2003). Remembering and knowing in patients with frontal lobe injuries. Cortex, 39, 827–846.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dermot M. Bowler
    • 1
  • John M. Gardiner
    • 2
  • Natasha Berthollier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, City UniversityNorthampton SquareLondonUK
  2. 2.University of SussexUK

Personalised recommendations