Skip to main content

The self-reference effect on memory is not diminished in autism: Three studies of incidental and explicit self-referential recognition memory in autistic and neurotypical adults and adolescents.

Lind, Sophie E., Williams, David M., Nicholson, Toby, Grainger, Catherine, Carruthers, Peter (2019) The self-reference effect on memory is not diminished in autism: Three studies of incidental and explicit self-referential recognition memory in autistic and neurotypical adults and adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 129 (2). pp. 224-236. ISSN 0021-843X. E-ISSN 1939-1846. (doi:10.1037/abn0000467) (KAR id:78590)

Abstract

Three experiments investigated the extent to which (a) individuals with autism show a self-reference effect (i.e., better memory for self-relevant information), and (b) the size of the self-reference effect is associated with autism traits. Participants studied trait adjectives in relation to their own name (self-referent) or a celebrity’s name (other-referent) under explicit and incidental/implicit encoding conditions. Explicit encoding involved judging whether the adjectives applied to self or other (denoted by proper names). Implicit encoding involved judging whether the adjectives were presented to the right or left of one’s own or a celebrity’s name. Recognition memory for the adjectives was tested using a yes/no procedure. Experiment 1 (individual differences; N = 257 neurotypical adults) employed the Autism-spectrum Quotient as a measure of autistic traits. Experiments 2 (n = 60) and 3 (n = 52) involved case-control designs with closely matched groups of autistic and neurotypical adults and children/adolescents, respectively. Autistic traits were measured using the Autism-spectrum Quotient and Social Responsiveness Scale, respectively. In all experiments, a significant self-reference effect was observed in both explicit and implicit encoding conditions. Most importantly, however, there was (a) no significant relation between size of the self-reference effect and number of autistic traits (Experiments 1, 2, and 3), and (b) no significant difference in the size of the self-reference effect between autistic and neurotypical participants (Experiments 2 and 3). In these respects, Bayesian analyses consistently suggested that the data supported the null hypothesis. These results challenge the notion that subjective or objective self-awareness are impaired in autism.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/abn0000467
Uncontrolled keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, recognition memory, self-awareness, self-bias, self-reference effect
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: David Williams
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 12:08 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 02:16 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/78590 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Williams, David M..

Creator's ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2973-7677
CReDIT Contributor Roles:

Nicholson, Toby.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:

Grainger, Catherine.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.