Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 445–454 | Cite as

Deficits in Free Recall Persist in Asperger’s Syndrome Despite Training in the Use of List-appropriate Learning Strategies

  • Brenda J. Smith
  • John M. Gardiner
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Original Paper


Free recall in adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) was compared with that in matched controls in an experiment including semantically similar, phonologically similar and unrelated word lists. Without supportive instructions, adults with AS were significantly impaired in their recall of phonologically and semantically related lists, but not unrelated lists. Even when trained to make use at study of the relations among the words, the adults with AS recalled fewer words than the control group. Participants rehearsed the study lists out loud and the rehearsal data was analysed. Despite a very slight trend for adults with AS to engage in less elaborative rehearsal and more rote rehearsal, their rehearsal did not differ significantly from that of controls.


Asperger’s Syndrome Memory Free recall Task support Relational deficit Autism 



The work reported in this article forms part of a D. Phil thesis that is in preparation. This research of the first author is supported by Studentship Grant PTA-030-2002-01037 from the ESRC and the second and third authors research is funded by a Grant 062978/Z/00/Z from The Wellcome Trust. We are grateful for their support. We would like to thank Sebastian B. Gaigg, Psychology Department, City University, England for his support and contribution with regard to co-ordinating appointments with participants. We would also like to acknowledge and thank all those who kindly volunteered to take part in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda J. Smith
    • 1
  • John M. Gardiner
    • 1
  • Dermot M. Bowler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of Life SciencesUniversity of SussexFalmerUK
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentCity UniversityLondonUK

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