Some studies have reported a low rate of false recognition (FR) in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) relative to non-autistic comparison participants (CPs). This finding, however, has not always been replicated and the source of the discrepancy remains unknown. We hypothesised that poor episodic memory functions may account for this finding. We used an adapted version of the Deese, Roediger and McDermott paradigm which presents lists of words, pictures or word–picture pairs to obtain measures of performance which reflect episodic [hits and false alarms (FAs)] and semantic (FR) memory functions. Results showed a decreased rate of FR in ASD individuals with lists of words which rose above the rate seen in non-autistic CPs with lists of word–picture pairs. This increased rate of FR in ASD was accompanied by a parallel increase in hits and a decrease in FA which reached a similar level in the two groups. Poor episodic memory functions may prevent individuals with ASD from acquiring item information which in turn precludes the formation of semantic links between items. This could render them less prone to FR.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Deese, Roediger and McDermott paradigm
- False recognition
- Gist memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)