City Research Online

Object-location memory in adults with autism spectrum disorder

Ring, M., Gaigg, S. B. and Bowler, D. M. (2015). Object-location memory in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research, 8(5), pp. 609-619. doi: 10.1002/aur.1478


This study tested implicit and explicit spatial relational memory in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Participants were asked to study pictures of rooms and pictures of daily objects for which locations were highlighted in the rooms. Participants were later tested for their memory of the object locations either by being asked to place objects back into their original locations or into new locations. Proportions of times when participants choose the previously studied locations for the objects irrespective of the instruction were used to derive indices of explicit and implicit memory [process-dissociation procedure, Jacoby, 1991, 1998]. In addition, participants performed object and location recognition and source memory tasks where they were asked about which locations belonged to the objects and which objects to the locations. The data revealed difficulty for ASD individuals in actively retrieving object locations (explicit memory) but not in subconsciously remembering them (implicit memory). These difficulties cannot be explained by difficulties in memory for objects or locations per se (i.e., the difficulty pertains to object-location relations). Together these observations lend further support to the idea that ASD is characterised by relatively circumscribed difficulties in relational rather than item-specific memory processes and show that these difficulties extend to the domain of spatial information. They also lend further support to the idea that memory difficulties in ASD can be reduced when support is provided at test.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Ring, M., Gaigg, S. B. & Bowler, D. M. (2015). Object-location memory in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research, 8(5), pp. 609-619., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Publisher Keywords: explicit relational memory;implicit relational memory;Autism Spectrum Disorder;recognition memory;source memory;task support hypothesis;process-dissociation procedure
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
Download (579kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login