Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

pp 2373-2379

Procedural Memory

  • Joshua EwenAffiliated withKennedy Krieger Institute Email author 
  • , Stewart MostofskyAffiliated withKennedy Krieger Institute


Procedural learning refers to the process by which skills are acquired implicitly (without conscious recall) through repeated exposure to and practice of a task (Squire, 1986).

Historical Background

The discovery of the disassociation between memory that could be expressed verbally and accessed consciously (i.e., declarative memory) and experience-based brain adaptation that occurred implicitly (i.e., procedural memory) developed principally from the study of amnestic patients in the 1970s (Squire, 1986). As discussed in Current Knowledge, in the intervening decades, a number of paradigms have been developed to assess various manifestations of procedural learning. The number of studies explicitly investigating procedural learning in autism has increased over the last few years.

Current Knowledge


Procedural learning forms the basis for the development of many cognitive and behavioral skills and is understood to result fro ...

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