Development of Episodic Memory and Foresight in High-Functioning Preschoolers with ASD
To investigate the early development of episodic memory and future thinking in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we selected 94 participants each from a group of ASD and typically developing (TD) preschoolers. They were required to remember newly-acquired knowledge sources and anticipate action timings necessary for future events. Five-year-old children with ASD remembered their knowledge sources similar to TD children; however, the 6-year-old children performed more poorly than their TD counterparts. ASD children failed to anticipate future action timings in comparison with TD children. Although source memory and future thinking were related in TD children, they were unrelated in children with ASD. The results suggest that episodic memory and foresight are deficient and unintegrated in ASD children during the preschool years.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) Preschoolers Episodic memory Episodic future thinking Source memory
The study was supported by the Organization for Promoting Neurodevelopmental Disorder Research. We are grateful to Remi Kosaka, Minori Nakamura, Seiko Nabatame, Eriko Gavinio for their help in data collection, and to Drs. Noriko Kimura and Sayaka Yoshimura for diagnosing children with ASD. We also thank the children, teachers, and principals at the nursery and primary schools in Yasu, Shiga, and Sakai, Osaka, Japan, for their cooperation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
All study components received the approval of the university’s Institutional Review Board.
The parents of all children released their informed consent for their children’s participation in the study and to the treatment of the data.
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