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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2007 Aug;29(6):610-6.

Decreased false memory for visually presented shapes and symbols among adults on the autism spectrum.

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  • 1The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA.


Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been shown in some studies to be less susceptible to the verbal "false memory" effect, perhaps due to restricted semantic associative networks. High-functioning individuals with ASD can demonstrate subtle language impairments. However, relative preservation of spatial skills can also be observed. This study investigated false memory in both visual and verbal paradigms to elucidate whether adults with ASD would be more or less prone to illusory recognition in a visual paradigm that contained slides of geometric figures with minimal linguistic and semantic associative representation. In the verbal paradigm, modeled on the Deese-Roediger-McDermott method, those with ASD did not perform significantly better than a matched comparison group. In contrast, in the visual paradigm those with ASD were significantly better able to discriminate true items from lure items and were less likely to falsely recognize the lures. Findings from the visual paradigm provide further evidence of restricted associative networks in ASD, particularly in the spatial domain.

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