Directed Forgetting in High-Functioning Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Rehearsal strategies of adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and demographically matched typically developed (TD) adults were strategically manipulated by cueing participants to either learn, or forget each list word prior to a recognition task. Participants were also asked to distinguish between autonoetic and noetic states of awareness using the Remember/Know paradigm. The ASD group recognised a similar number of to-be-forgotten words as the TD group, but significantly fewer to-be-learned words. This deficit was only evident in Remember responses that reflect autonoetic awareness, or episodic memory, and not Know responses. These findings support the elaborative encoding deficit hypothesis and provide a link between the previously established mild episodic memory impairments in adults with high functioning autism and the encoding strategies employed.
KeywordsAutism Autonoetic awareness Elaborative rehearsal Episodic memory
The work reported in this article forms part of a D. Phil thesis. This research of the first author was supported by Studentship Grant PTA-030-2002-01037 from the Economic and Social Research Council and the second and third authors’ research was funded by a Grant G0401413 from The Medical Research Council. We are grateful for their support. We would like to thank Sebastian B. Gaigg, Psychology Department, City University London, 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.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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