Recognition Memory, Self-Other Source Memory, and Theory-of-Mind in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Sophie E. Lind
  • Dermot M. Bowler
Original Paper


This study investigated semantic and episodic memory in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), using a task which assessed recognition and self-other source memory. Children with ASD showed undiminished recognition memory but significantly diminished source memory, relative to age- and verbal ability-matched comparison children. Both children with and without ASD showed an “enactment effect”, demonstrating significantly better recognition and source memory for self-performed actions than other-person-performed actions. Within the comparison group, theory-of-mind (ToM) task performance was significantly correlated with source memory, specifically for other-person-performed actions (after statistically controlling for verbal ability). Within the ASD group, ToM task performance was not significantly correlated with source memory (after controlling for verbal ability). Possible explanations for these relations between source memory and ToM are considered.


Autism spectrum disorder Episodic memory Recognition memory Semantic memory Source memory Theory-of-mind 



We would like to thank the following schools for their participation in this research: Bensham Manor, Brent Knoll, Hillingdon Manor, Kilmorie, Linden Bridge, Southmead, Pendragon, St. Winifred’s, The Park, and West Wimbledon. We are extremely grateful to Dr David Williams for his helpful suggestions during the preparation and revision of this manuscript. Finally, we wish to thank Dr Chris Jarrold and the other anonymous reviewers of this article for their insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCity UniversityLondonUK

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