Short-term memory in autism spectrum disorder

Author: Poirier, M.; Martin, J.S.; Gaigg, S.B.; Bowler, D.M.

Description: Three experiments examined verbal short-term memory in comparison and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participants. Experiment 1 involved forward and backward digit recall. Experiment 2 used a standard immediate serial recall task where, contrary to the digit-span task, items (words) were not repeated from list to list. Hence, this task called more heavily on item memory. Experiment 3 tested short-term order memory with an order recognition test: Each word list was repeated with or without the position of 2 adjacent items swapped. The ASD group showed poorer performance in all 3 experiments. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that group differences were due to memory for the order of the items, not to memory for the items themselves. Confirming these findings, the results of Experiment 3 showed that the ASD group had more difficulty detecting a change in the temporal sequence of the items.

Subject headings: Adolescent; Adult; Analysis of Variance; Autistic Disorder–psychology; Female; Humans; Male; Memory, Short-Term–physiology; Mental Recall–physiology; Middle Aged; Neuropsychological Tests; Serial Learning–physiology; Autism

Publication year: 2011

Journal or book title: Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Volume: 120

Issue: 1

Pages: 247-252

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 60